Seven months ago, I took a huge leap. Some might say it was almost suicidal. I left a secure (as secure as secure can be these days anyway), good paying job at an agency that treated me well for 5 years.
Although I learned a lot and grew exponentially during that time, I left because I had become frustrated about many things that I will not go into. I’d always wanted to have a company of my own. So in 2010, Zach and I put the plans for SLAB in motion. Two years and a lot of late nights later, the time finally came and I jumped ship. I was scared beyond belief but I was extremely happy to be working from home.
I have a fantastic home office complete with a small truckload of baseball memorabilia, a kegarator, TV, and a door if I ever need to close things out (my kids playroom is adjacent to my office). My kids occasionally come in and ask me questions, request my help on something, or ask me to come play with them. In the beginning, I would oblige as much as I could. After the new wore off and work started to pick up for us, I slowly started turning down their requests and stayed chained to my desk. Many times I found myself coming back downstairs to my office to work after we got the kids in bed, even if for just an hour or so. Looking back to before this past holiday, I could often be heard saying, “just a minute,” or “let me finish this first.” The next thing I knew, 4 hours would have passed and it was too late to do whatever was being asked of me. After this last week, my outlook on things has really changed.
The Holiday and Life
Last week was Thanksgiving and we had a lot of family in town for the holiday. At one point, there were 10 people staying at our house. I loved every single minute of it. Among my many highlights; the kids playing and laughing together and being able to spend time with our brother-in-law who serves our country in the Marines and has been deployed over seas more often than not the past 6+ years ... just spending good quality family time with everyone. And then everyone had to return to their respective places and their every day lives. The kids went back to school. My wife went back to helping out at our son’s school, and I was back in my office working. But something was different now. My house was quiet. Painfully quiet.
What They’ve Taught Me
This quietness hit me HARD. After a week of having a house full of family, full of laughter, full of activity, it was gone. It made me realize that one day, it really will be gone. That there will be a day that my kids won’t come into my office and ask me to play with them. That there will be a day, a time, were they will be old enough to be on their own. They’ll be gone and most of the time, it will just be my wife and me here. Not that it will be a bad thing, of course. But when you get used to having something all of the time, you’ll eventually start to take it for granted. It was this past holiday that really made me realize how much I love my family and love having them around me. It made me think that when my kids come in and ask me for help or ask me to play, that I should take that opportunity and spend time with them. After all, this was a big reason for me leaving my previous job. They need me and I need them. While work is obviously extremely important, my family is even more so. Work will always be there in some form or another, even if we have to look a little bit harder for it at times. Our family, well, they might not be there one day.
I have made a promise to myself to be the best father and the best husband that I can be. To be there for my family as much as I possibly can while still maintaining and growing my business. After all, without work, I’m unable to provide for my family. But by being a better dad and husband, I am 100% sure that I can be better at my job and be a better business partner. So if I have to walk away from my computer and phone for a little bit and I don’t respond to an email, a phone call or a tweet right away, I’m sorry in advance. There was another meeting or request that needed my attention. It will be a meeting or a request that will give me great pride and pleasure for many years to come. A pride and pleasure that no website, no email or no phone call could ever provide for any great length of time. But when I do get back to my desk and get back to work, I can guarantee that our clients will get the best me.