The other day had a conference call at 6:30 AM. Instead of waking up at 5:00 AM and head to the office for the call, I decided to take it from home so I could get an extra hour of sleep. Somehow, the call didn’t end until 8 AM. Since I had another meeting at 9 AM that I had to be in the office for, and it takes about 30 minutes to drive to the office, I was in a bit of a rush. I took a quick shower, shaved, helped Mrs. T with Baby T1.0 and T2.0 to get them ready for the morning (i.e. taking diapers off, changing clothes, etc), and ate breakfast. I was rushing through everything so I could get out of the door before 8:30. I sat down for maybe 5 minutes to chow down my breakfast. I barely had time to talk to Mrs. T and Baby T1.0 during breakfast. Once I finished brushing my teeth I rushed out of the door to make sure I could get to work before 9 AM.
Having to rush out of the door was not a good feeling. I felt like I didn’t spend any quality time with my family this morning. Rushing out of the door had made me felt anxious and jumpy while driving to work. I felt a bit frustrated that the earlier conference call had gone overtime. I started telling myself that I should have just toughed it out and woke up at 5 to take the call from the office.
It was a busy day at work with quite a few meetings throughout the day. Although I started the day early and planned to leave before 4 PM, I didn’t get out of the office until 4:45 PM. Someone had call for an emergency 1 hour meeting for 3:30 PM. Due to an earlier accident on the highway, the usual 30 minute commute home took almost an hour.
Just before arriving home, a meeting notification popped up on my phone. I had forgotten that I had a call at 6 PM to talk to my colleagues in Asia.
I spent about 15 minutes with my family before locking myself in the den room to talk to my colleagues. In the dining room, Mrs. T and Baby T1.0 were eating dinner.
By the time I finished my call around 7:15 PM (again the call went overtime), Mrs. T and Baby T1.0 had already finished dinner. Mrs. T was getting ready to put Baby T1.0 to bed. I sat down at the dinner table and ate dinner all alone. I could hear that Baby T2.0 was crying upstairs in our bedroom while Mrs. T was tending Baby T1.0. I quickly ate my dinner so I could help out upstairs.
It wasn’t until around 8:30 PM that Mrs. T and I were able to sit down together to spend some much needed quality time together. Then Mrs. T showed me this story:
A man came home from work late, tired and irritated from a tough day only to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.
“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
“Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man.
“Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
“That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man asked angrily.
“I just want to know. Please tell me…how much do you make an hour?”
“If you must know, I make $50 an hour.”
“Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.
“Daddy, may I please borrow $25?”
The father was furious. “If the only reason you asked that is so you can have some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I don’t work hard everyday to put up with such selfishness.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and closed the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions.
“How dare he ask such questions only to get some money”, he thought to himself.
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think.
“Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often”. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
“Are you asleep, son?” He asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake”, replied the boy.
“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man.
“It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.
The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.
“Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Money for what?”, the father asked.
“Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was devastated. As he eyes welled up with tears, he put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness
A day like this just reinforces my desire to become financially independent in the near future. Although this kind of crazy day only happens occasionally, I do not enjoy it at all. If I were to climb the corporate ladder, it only means I will get busier. Work-life balance can be a struggle working in the high tech field.
Higher salary but way less quality time with my family?
No thank you.
I’m fighting for my financial independence so I don’t have to rush out of the door again.