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Thread: Choices: Fatherhood - career

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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Choices: Fatherhood - career

    The luxury of choice is a curse.

    So, here's the situation:

    I have a well paid job, working in the office of a Belgian notary public. A notary here is not to be compared with his Anglo-Saxon equivalent. I won't bother you with a detailed job description, but let's just say that the profession of notary is a protected profession and, if you make it to the postion, you're guaranteed to earn a lot of money. In order to get there, one needs to have the necessary master degrees, experience and needs to pass an exam. I participated last year and I was this close to passing it. I know that if I put my mind on it and put in some effort, that I will pass that exam, if not this year, then certainly next year. This will mean that I'm as good as certain to become a notary and earn lots of money. But the money isn't important. The fact that I actually like doing what I do, is important. And being able to earn money by doing what you like, would be great. Note: I don't like my current job that much, because, well, I still have a boss and I don't like being told what to do. I would, however, love this job, if I would be the boss and could make my own decisions.

    However, being my own boss in my own business will inevitably mean, and certainly so the first 10 years, hard work, long days, not much vacation, aka I won't be able to spend much time with my family and I will miss a great deal of seeing my son grow up.

    This is one career option and I do have that ambition. Otoh, I already feel guilty for not being able to spend the amount of time I truly want to spend with wife and child. Then again, a frustrated, unhappy dad who goes to work everyday because he must, doesn't seem perfect either.

    Alternatively, I could just say farewell to the "dream" of becoming notary. Even in these times of crisis, it shouldn't be too difficult for me to find another job. Less money, much more free time.

    Arguments contra: it could be that after a few years, I will become frustrated, being stuck in a position where I don't want to be professionally and maybe blaming myself for not having pursued the other option.

    I like my job, I like doing this work, but if I stay here, I want to reach the top one day. So, if I continue on this path, I'll be one day earning an awful lot of money, but won't have much time for anything else. But it's not so much the money that does it. Honestly, I don't care that much about money. It's more the fact of being my own boss, in my own business, doing the kind of work I really like. I don't want to be my own boss in something different, like a shop or so. I can live with less money, so there's nothing holding me back financially from "stepping down" and doing something that allows me to have a lot of free time, except my own personal ambitions and desires.

    I've still got plenty of time to make a decision, but I don't have an infinite amount of time. If I wait too long, time will decide in my place (and I will go with option one, becoming a notary).

    Now, I'm not going to ask you guys to decide for me.

    I'm more interested in your experiences, as a child or as a parent, to help me:

    1) Was/is your father/mother somebody who worked/works hard and was/is seldom at home, and if so, did/do you have a good relationship with him/her? Did you get along well, did you miss him/her? Are you angry with him/her? Do you understand that he/she is/was doing what he/she thinks/thought is/was best for you or do you blame him/her for certain things?

    2) If you're a full time working parent who is seldom home yourself, how is your relationship with your children? Do you feel guilty? Would you have made a different choice, knowing what you know now? Do you have the feeling your children understand or do they seem angry/disappointed?

    3) If you're a parent who works parttime/stays at home, how does it feel? Do you sometimes feel frustrated or lonely, because you couldn't fullfil your professional ambitions? Would you have made a different choice, knowing what you know now?
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Not a parent but why on earth would you let such a position slip through your fingers, especially now when nothing is certain. You can do a lot of your work at home nowadays anyway.

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    the G-Diffuser Senior Member pevergreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    edit: thought was backroom.

    Not posting this in frontroom etc.
    Last edited by pevergreen; 11-17-2010 at 10:53.
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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Not a parent but why on earth would you let such a position slip through your fingers, especially now when nothing is certain. You can do a lot of your work at home nowadays anyway.
    Because I'm one of those people who don't care about money and social standard. I can have a, financially, comfortable life with a lower paying, but more relax job. Sure, it'll mean no luxury and no big house, but I don't give a damn about that. I couldn't care less about what my neighbours think of me. I'm not the type of guy who would put his BMW outside his garage so people can see how well I'm doing.

    I'm not, of course, completely insensitive for money, but money will never be a reason or motivation for me to do something I don't want to do. The work itself that I'm doing, however, would be, under the condition that I can do it one day while being my own boss.
    Last edited by Andres; 11-17-2010 at 10:49.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    Because I'm one of those people who don't care about money and social standard. I can have a, financially, comfortable life with a lower paying, but more relax job. Sure, it'll mean no luxury and no big house, but I don't give a damn about that. I couldn't care less about what my neighbours think of me. I'm not the type of guy who would put his BMW outside his garage so people can see how well I'm doing.

    I'm not, of course, completely insensitive for money, but money will never be a reason or motivation for me to do something I don't want to do.
    Screw the 'I don't care about what others think', that's projection imho. Do you want to spend 8 hours a day being bored?

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    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Rahwana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    not the exactly same things, but my father was an arab-descendant, trader who always pursue his business and never speak with his children more than he needed to confirm that he was still our father, and sometimes gave us thrashing with his belts. He never said he loved us, and forced us to always do what he want us to do, not to mention slap everyone who forgot to pray properly 5 times a day.

    I didn't hate my father, but now, after I can get myself some money, I live away from them, become an atheist, and generally only visit my parents for some formality.
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    i'd say wait maybe a year until your child is a bit older and it can be left easier in the care of others (like grandmom, daycare etc) and then try to pursue the dream of becoming a notary. i have friends whose father is also a notary (dunno from what age but i definitly a big part of their youth) and they turned out fine.

    my dad has his own company for a few years now and he has always been quite high in the other bussiness he worked for which also meant alot of work but whenever he had the time he would spend it with us, and you guys all know i turned out fine XD

    its all about balance imo and i dont see why your dream of being a notary has to be seperated from your dream of being a good father and having a warm home, i think its all one big dream.

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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Don't think of more money now as just "I can buy a bmw". More like "I can retire X years earlier".

    It's not nice to be unhappy at work, and I don't think your kid will like it either...usually you just keep away if they had a bad day at work. But there is undeniably less free time with the notary job.

    Oh well, I wonder how much of our perception of this is from hollywood movies pitting extreme examples vs each other. "The Family Man" comes to mind.

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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    If being a notary is something you want, I say go for it. You definitely don't want to be stuck in job you don't like, and while it might be hard work for a few years if you enjoy it it will be a lot smoother (and you will be more pleasant to be around). And while you may not personally care about the money, you have a responsibility to care for your new child as best you can.
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    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    1) Was/is your father/mother somebody who worked/works hard and was/is seldom at home, and if so, did/do you have a good relationship with him/her? Did you get along well, did you miss him/her? Are you angry with him/her? Do you understand that he/she is/was doing what he/she thinks/thought is/was best for you or do you blame him/her for certain things?
    My father worked (and still works) very hard. He didn't work late, but he always brought work home with him and would be busy in his office in the evenings and sometimes on weekends. The nature of his work also required him to travel a great deal, and it was normal for him to be away from home for a week or so every once in a while. As he got promoted, the travel increased, to the point when he was gone for 3 months out of every year. That was when I was about 11/12 years old. He hated being away from home, and the travel was really making him unhappy because he wanted to be with his family. At the same time, he loved his job and was very good at it.

    Partly due to job promotion, and partly to reduce his traveling, we moved to London in 1991. That was an exceptionally good move for my father career-wise, and it also greatly reduced his travel time... temporarily. As he continued to rise in the company, the travel demands started returning and he was once again away from home frequently. It wasn't as bad as before, but he didn't like it. Eventually we had two homes, one in London and one in Singapore, and my father would spend a week in each place at a time. This continued until he retired from the company and became an independent consultant.

    Throughout all of this, I have always had a very good relationship with my father. While he was frequently gone, or busy working, I never felt that he was absent from my life. He always spent his free time with my mother and I and was very loving. He made family vacations a priority and every once in a while my mother, myself, or both my mother and myself would join my father in his business travels. I know that my father wishes he hadn't had to travel as much as he did, but he was able to balance his job and his life well enough that he didn't damage either. That said, my father never had much of a social life beyond his family. If he wasn't working, he was with us. If he had also tried to work in time with other friends independently of his family, he may have had problems.

    My parents went through various periods of stress due to my father's work. There were good years and bad years, including periods where my parents argued a lot. However, they have always been committed to one another and they got through it mainly by sheer endurance. They are currently very happy. My father now works about 3 days a week, out of his house, and chooses his own jobs. Due to his hard work throughout his life, my parents are very well off financially. That money has given them a lot of freedoms in life and eliminated a lot of worries. They travel a great deal now for pleasure alone, and they have the assets to spend the rest of their lives enjoying themselves. That money has also had a trickle-down effect on my life, as I was able to obtain good schooling at all levels without every having student debt.

    In short, my father was able to balance a demanding high-performance job that required a lot of time commitment with a good family life. It caused problems at various times, but in the long term it was a very positive experience. However, my father had little to no outside social activities throughout his life. Adding that element into the mix may not have ended in the same results.

    Hope this helps.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Your boy will probably turn out just fine. It's mom who might be rather unhappy about a relationship in which you are away all day and sleep all night... <_<
    Last edited by Tellos Athenaios; 11-17-2010 at 18:54.
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    Oni Member Samurai Waki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Do it while your son is young, he's not going to remember a lot about his first couple of years anyways, and by the time he's in the full swing of childhood he'll also be distracted with school and such. By the time your ten years is up, and you're more free to do things with him, is about the point in time when he'll want to bond more with his father, as opposed to mom.

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    Toh-GAH-koo-reh Member Togakure's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    My relationship with my father wasn't so good (it's better now), but it wasn't because of a lack of time spent together. Honestly, I dreaded spending time with him because he was hypercritical, controlling, and sometimes cruel. He worked a normal 9-5 and was home every night etc..

    My mother was always home. We spent a lot of time together, and had a typical love-hate relationship. We got along fine overall, and had a better relationship than my father and I had.

    My two koku: either option will work if you focus on the quality of time spent together. Kids need independence too, some more than others and vice versa. They benefit from it significantly if a proper level of support is there when they need it. Today's society is so different from when I was growing up. It is even more competitive, and young people who develop the ability to think critically, judge wisely, and act with determination and diligence on their own will integrate and excel better and faster than those who are used to relying on others a lot--even if that reliance is not 'conscious.' The fact is, when parents are around, we know that if big trouble comes, they will usually do what they can to help if they are able. When this is gone, all the education/training/experience is put to the true test.

    In regard to professional ambitions, all I can offer is, be careful of risking future stability for immediate desires. It's usually a wise choice to sacrifice early in order to build security for the future. We never know what can happen down the line; I've learned this lesson late, the hard way, and wouldn't want to see friends--particularly those with children depending on them--make the same mistakes I did, and pay the price.
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Screw the 'I don't care about what others think', that's projection imho. Do you want to spend 8 hours a day being bored?





    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    Because I'm one of those people who don't care about money and social standard. I can have a, financially, comfortable life with a lower paying, but more relax job. Sure, it'll mean no luxury and no big house, but I don't give a damn about that. I couldn't care less about what my neighbours think of me. I'm not the type of guy who would put his BMW outside his garage so people can see how well I'm doing.

    I'm not, of course, completely insensitive for money, but money will never be a reason or motivation for me to do something I don't want to do. The work itself that I'm doing, however, would be, under the condition that I can do it one day while being my own boss.



    My father tried to be like that and he ended up almost losing the house and our car in the matter of months and destroyed a good relationship with me and the rest of the family.


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    Hope guides me Senior Member Hosakawa Tito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Juggling career & family time can be a challenge, especially if you are the primary provider for your spouse and children. Enjoying what you do means you never work a day in your life. The money & job security is the cherry on top.

    My father was an energetic work-a-holic & tinkerer. He worked two jobs, steel plant millwright & diesel mechanic for a trucking company probably the first 10-12 years of my life till the trucking company went under. We didn't see much of him during the week, but he always had the weekends and vacations with us. His most glaring weakness; he wasn't a great communicator and didn't suffer fools gladly. He led by example, was an independent stubborn quiting ain't allowed cuss. If he couldn't get it on his own, he didn't want it. He always told me that no one is ever going to care more about you than you.

    I think you should reach as far as you can. Isn't that what we try to teach our children? The family time will work out, it's just an opportunity to be creative.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Not that good with my father either but I loved my father, and he loved us. All that matters. Can't say I miss him as he had a bit of a cruel touch, but I'm sorry he's gone. Can you really do anything wrong when you actually really care.

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    Speaker of Truth Senior Member Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Well you can always take your chance and still take another job in case the family stuff doesn't work out, no? But if you don't take the chance while your still young, I think you might end up not knowing what you could have done. Which might end up as regret.

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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choices: Fatherhood - career

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    Don't think of more money now as just "I can buy a bmw". More like "I can retire X years earlier".
    This. This. This.

    My father is a driven man, he worked hard and I often didn't see him between the ages of 0 and ten for long periods of time. However, he's retired now, and has been for about 5 years, he's in his mid-50s and doesn't need to work another day in his life unless he wants to or one of his old work colleagues contracts him to do some minor work.

    How close am I with him? Incredibly close. I love that man. However, I couldn't have said that 5+ years ago because he wasn't around enough. However, because he got to retire early he was able to bond with myself and my siblings.

    My mother is a different case, she also works hard, she still works, but there's a bond between mother and child that is innate and doesn't always form between father and child, unless fostered and developed.
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