Cat’s In The Cradle

This last week a friend of mine worked all day Sunday in addition to working a full 5-day week.  His company requested he perform this work on Sunday because it needed to be performed during “non-production” hours.   Sure my friend could have said “no” but it may have been at the cost of any future promotions, how he is looked at as a “team player” or maybe even his employment at the company.  Basically he was scared to say “no”.

His situation reminded me of the 1974 song “Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin.  As a kid I always liked the song, it had a good tune.  As an adult I actually listened to the words and took a good grasp of the meaning.

The song is about a father who is too busy working to spend time with his son or family.  His son continually asks his dad to join him in some activities but the dad always responds with a vague promise of spending time with him soon.  Even though the son isn’t getting the attention he desires he still looks up to his dad.

Time passes and the son grows into a man and has a family of his own as well as a job.  The dad now continually asks the son for some quality time together and now it is the son telling the dad he is too busy but they will get together soon.

The cost of both father and son putting their careers first resulted in neither of them having a relationship with each other.  Plus, the cycle continued onto the son as now the son doesn’t  give quality time to his family or kids.

Have you ever put your job ahead of family or friends?  I know many people who put their job first because they are afraid of any form on intimate relationship so the hide behind their job.  Others are so in debt they feel they must put the job first in order to take care of the family financially.

Look at the overall cost of both scenarios.  The family and children suffer.  Divorce rates are higher because spouses are not spending enough quality time with each other.  Children are getting in to trouble with the law as minors and many times that pattern continues into adulthood until they end up in jail.  All because work or other distractions like watching sports, playing video games, etc are being put ahead of the family unit.

Consider if you were not in debt, would you feel to compelled to sacrifice your family for a work obligation on the weekend?  Would you take time away from your family?  Consider taking the risk of opening yourself up to your spouse and kids, building some intimacy instead of hiding behind your job, you will find they are much more fulfilling and rewarding than a company that would be willing to replace you at the drop of a hat.

The family unit is falling apart because we no longer set the necessary boundaries we need to set.  We are not balancing out our lives the way we need to.  I am currently reading the book The One Life Solution – Reclaim Your Personal Life While Achieving Greater Professional Success by Henry Cloud.   I encourage each of you to purchase and read this book.  It is an awesome read, and touches how much you and I have lost the proper balance and boundaries between work and personal life.

Ready to take control of your work life?