Crossroads in Life - Career vs Family

66 posts in this topic

I'm at a crossroads in life of whether to go for career or family. My situation is that I am currently a VP at an investment bank where I manage about bit more than a dozen people. For those of you who don't know the investment banking career path goes: Analyst, Associate, VP, Senior VP (in some banks), Director, Managing Director, Chief Managing Director. How most investment banks work is that you are up for promotion within every 2-3 years. If you don't get promoted by the end of your fourth year you get laid off with a nice severance package.

 

So far my career has been going well but I am going on maternity leave soon. The thing is that my hubby is also an investment banker and his career is going even better. He has built a very strong network of contacts, clients and connections that he certainly get a job offer of Managing Director by the end of next year (whether it's in Australia, Singapore, Germany or London it's uncertain but there are many potential offers on the tables). By the way his career is going it's possible that he reaches the C-Level by the time he turns 50 or even late 40s. The other thing is that if I get promoted to Director I will be expected to not only execute but also generate business and create clients. That means a lot of travelling and not so much time with the kids.

 

What makes my dilemma so hard is that I've been doing a good job so far. I can't say that this is my dream job and the hours can be tedious but there is a certain amount of enjoyment and satisfaction to what I'm doing. Nonetheless if we are both to continue our career in full gear I can't see any way of raising children without hiring a stranger which I don't want to do. I want to raise the children myself and basically I'm thinking of stopping work for some time and then taking a part time job but I seem to foresee some future regret of what could have been.

 

Are there any other women in this situation?

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If there is a white/yellow diamond shortly before or after this cross roads, the Rechts vor Links regulation doen not apply

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8 minutes ago, jeremytwo said:

 You'll go from the ego boosting "I'd hire you in a heartbeat" lifestyle to school runs, shopping, cooking and yeah (that's mine this morning) bathroom cleaning and yeah it's humbling - I have that every day - but I believe I've done a pretty good job of raising kids as a bloke.

hahahaha I do the cooking, shopping and cleaning already. I probably wouldn't able to do that plus run around with the kids with the job I have now.

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Do you like the prospect of biz dev or do you prefer the management / execution side?  I've seen more than a couple of IB managers get tasked with client generation and go from being happy, motivated people to being completely miserable just do to the amount of (what they saw as pointless) networking and being "forever on", let alone the travel requirements.

 

Since you've got a pretty good amount of execution / management experience, I'd think that a good compromise would be the part-time job route of helping your clients know what to expect from the IB machine and positioning them for success on the path since there is a need for that kind of service

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4 hours ago, Svetlana.Petro said:

I'm at a crossroads in life of whether to go for career or family. ...

 

Why should you have to choose? 

 

4 hours ago, Svetlana.Petro said:

...Nonetheless if we are both to continue our career in full gear I can't see any way of raising children without hiring a stranger which I don't want to do. I want to raise the children myself and basically I'm thinking of stopping work for some time and then taking a part time job but I seem to foresee some future regret of what could have been...

 

You have to decide what does the word "career" mean to you? A promotion every 2-3 years, climbing up another rung on the ladder? Or doing work that you enjoy, making use of your facilities (your brain) and intelligence, while bringing home a paycheck, even if it means you don't have "director" in your job title.

 

Will you regret your choice? Hell no. You'll never regret having your children. Will you struggle with the idea that you are now "simply" a wife and mother and "only" work part-time, while you damn know you can do more? Abso-fucking-lutely!

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Elfenstar said:

 

Why should you have to choose? 

 

 

You have to decide what does the word "career" mean to you? A promotion every 2-3 years, climbing up another rung on the ladder? Or doing work that you enjoy, making use of your facilities (your brain) and intelligence, while bringing home a paycheck, even if it means you don't have "director" in your job title.

 

Will you regret your choice? Hell no. You'll never regret having your children. Will you struggle with the idea that you are now "simply" a wife and mother and "only" work part-time, while you damn know you can do more? Abso-fucking-lutely!

 

 

It's a good point.

You only have to choose if what you think of as a career does not fit with what you think of as being a parent.

 

The mrs went though this and I think still does now and again. I never had a problem with it, the moment our daughter was there my life changed, simple as.

Was it easy at first, no, does it get easier, yes and no.

 

Looking at the OP, if he hubby has the better job and his promotions are gong to mean moving, then she is going to have her career take a back seat anyway once the moving starts. 

 

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I gave up a fledgling career as a translator 3 years after grad school to raise our son. I had also built up a nice stable of clients and agencies to work with. It was a second career and I am a bit older but even so it was ego crushing to raise an infant to about 8 years old. Maybe or maybe not it is different for women. No income and depending on someone else for security was a drag. 

I'm sitting on the bus with my son after picking him up from Pfadis. I've gotta tell you I'd do it all over again. It's the one investment that pays off  more than any other. Hands down.

I've started working again and the ego is inflating again very nicely - just ask my wife.

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Despite what they said in the 70s, you can't have it all

Every working woman needs a wife.

 

Everyone can do two things at a time, and some can even juggle three, with a little help.  So a married woman who is in the workplace is already doing two things, add a child and it's three.  4. House, 5. Social life?  Something's gotta give.  Usually it turns out to be the child.

Good for you @Svetlana.Petro , for recognizing that you don't want to have on your tombstone, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office'.

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Didn’t you have such thoughts BEFORE conceiving? Why are you thinking about this now as you contenplate your upcoming maternity leave 

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5 hours ago, Elfenstar said:

Will you struggle with the idea that you are now "simply" a wife and mother and "only" work part-time, while you damn know you can do more?

 

this is an interesting take...

 

for me, a lot of the reason I never wanted to have kids is that the prospect of raising tiny humans to be healthy, well adjusted individuals always felt like WAY more than I could safely manage.  That was always the "more" I just could never find the confidence to commit to.

 

The bigger reason that contributed to that, as trr reminded me, was abject fear of having to rely 100% on someone else for my daily upkeep (and the upkeep of the kids!).  For me that is not only ego-diminishing, but totally terrifying.  I had very poor examples in my youth...basically raised with a visceral understanding (by observation) that having children means always being prepared to raise them alone.  100% alone.  As honestly, I knew about 5 kids growing up that actually had two parents.  The others were raised by single moms as the dads just decided they didn't feel like being dads, and disappeared into the ether.  So the idea of having to be prepared to work full time, *and* raise kids, just never felt like a reasonable path for me.  I never saw it "work" for the kids as the moms were stretched way too thin trying to bring home the bacon, cook it, and clean up afterwards...usually to collapse in a heap before they could even think about "quality" time spent as a family.  And frankly, they didn't feel good about that.  It was just very hard for everyone.

 

I could just never feel confident I could work full time and give my potential kids the care they absolutely deserved.

 

I can't say I totally regret not having kids, per se, as there are excellent adventures to be had both ways, but they are of course very very different adventures.  I'm personally ok with how things turned out.  BUT, I don't and will never have a family.  And that, too, is quite sad at times.  If I had felt stable and safe and free to give up my career, or scale it back, or whatever, knowing I and my kids were truly "covered", I would have been very happy to make that choice.

 

but having a full time job AND trying to be a good mom...no.  I don't regret not trying to do that.  I would never.  And so I didn't take that risk ;)

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5 hours ago, cb6dba said:

Looking at the OP, if he hubby has the better job and his promotions are gong to mean moving, then she is going to have her career take a back seat anyway once the moving starts. 

 

That's what I thought until I didn't.

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We both spent many years at universities to get careers.  My husband and I chose our careers instead of having children. Some people have both career and children we couldn't see how we could make that work with our careers and lifestyle traveling and moving around a lot.

 

I'll never forget the last week at the university for my undergraduate degree there was a group of us talking about our plans for life after the university and the professors over heard the conversation. The female professor said we should go on and start families that should be the next chapters of our lives. I was thinking I didn't suffer though and heavily invest in that university program to start a family and give up my career. A few months later I went to graduate school finished that program and I'm still studying in my field taking a class right now.

 

We do have a "family" that we are very committed too although It's just the two of us myself and my husband for the last 25 years.  Sometimes I wish my husband would have found someone to have children with instead of staying with me because I think he would have been such a great father.

 

 

 

 

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On 11/10/2017, 10:05:54, jeremytwo said:

 

Hi there, I'm a guy who gave up a career in IT to raise kids. In your situation, you have to both figure out who has the strongest career, and as you say, it's your husband. One of you who so chooses can thus give up their career and put their time into raising kids. So that'll be you. You'll go from the ego boosting "I'd hire you in a heartbeat" lifestyle to school runs, shopping, cooking and yeah (that's mine this morning) bathroom cleaning and yeah it's humbling - I have that every day - but I believe I've done a pretty good job of raising kids as a bloke. I reckon that applies to women later too.

 

My wife came home yesterday and told me she found out her colleague/boss earns x more than her. 25 years ago I'd have been devastated but I told her to take a look at how grey and unhealthy he is compared to her, she agreed I was right. Better to be a deputy with less stress than at the top with all the idiots coming to you whining about their problems.

 

In short I do not regret for a second leaving the career ladder behind.

 

Agree but there's two sides to this coin: if we settle for a world where it's acceptable to burn people out in return for flagrantly overpaying them, is that humane either?

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On 10.11.2017, 10:54:40, Svetlana.Petro said:

Are there any other women in this situation?

I´m not a woman but I was in a similiar situation. I was committed to my carreer so I told my then wife to wait with having kids... and wait... and wait... Until she decided she´d rather divorce me than wait any longer. When a few years later my then girlfriend fell pregnant I knew better, I married her, dumped my carreer, took parental leave and had the best years of my life. When I wanted to go back to work after 6 years my wife died and I didn´t return as didn´t want my  my already traumatised kids raised by strangers. So I never returned to work. In hindsight I´d do it again in a heartbeat. Even though I miss my salary as widower´s pensions aren´t very high. If you in your priviledged financial and educational position can´t have kids - who else should? I´d suggest to just make financial arrangements with your husband to secure your and your kids financial security just in case something happens (divorce, disability...).

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16 hours ago, vmelchers said:

Didn’t you have such thoughts BEFORE conceiving? Why are you thinking about this now as you contenplate your upcoming maternity leave 

 

Thats a fair question and worth thinking about, but in the end, totally academic...

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On 11/10/2017, 9:54:40, Svetlana.Petro said:

I'm at a crossroads in life of whether to go for career or family. My situation is that I am currently a VP at an investment bank where I manage about bit more than a dozen people. For those of you who don't know the investment banking career path goes: Analyst, Associate, VP, Senior VP (in some banks), Director, Managing Director, Chief Managing Director. How most investment banks work is that you are up for promotion within every 2-3 years. If you don't get promoted by the end of your fourth year you get laid off with a nice severance package.

 

So far my career has been going well but I am going on maternity leave soon. The thing is that my hubby is also an investment banker and his career is going even better. He has built a very strong network of contacts, clients and connections that he certainly get a job offer of Managing Director by the end of next year (whether it's in Australia, Singapore, Germany or London it's uncertain but there are many potential offers on the tables). By the way his career is going it's possible that he reaches the C-Level by the time he turns 50 or even late 40s. The other thing is that if I get promoted to Director I will be expected to not only execute but also generate business and create clients. That means a lot of travelling and not so much time with the kids.

 

What makes my dilemma so hard is that I've been doing a good job so far. I can't say that this is my dream job and the hours can be tedious but there is a certain amount of enjoyment and satisfaction to what I'm doing. Nonetheless if we are both to continue our career in full gear I can't see any way of raising children without hiring a stranger which I don't want to do. I want to raise the children myself and basically I'm thinking of stopping work for some time and then taking a part time job but I seem to foresee some future regret of what could have been.

 

Are there any other women in this situation?

 

Just taking your words at face value I do not sense much or even any enthusiasm for the job:

 

"... I've been doing a good job so far. I can't say that this is my dream job and the hours can be tedious but there is a certain amount of enjoyment and satisfaction to what I'm doing..."

 

maybe you typically understate but if not, I would say I personally get way more than a "certain amount" of fun and pride out of even going shopping with my kids!

 

Trying to think a little outside the box: could you leverage your experience and training to go part time in future? Personally I'd love to do that (if not for my wife's full time plus career...!)

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