First off, I must thank you for all of your insights that have made my life – and the life of others whom I have stewardship over better. Thank you.
I think I’m losing balance in my life and I want to see what your (and the Bible’s) views are on the situation. My conflict comes from my employer who requires me to travel 1-3 times a month on weekends and I also work full time during the week (6 am to 4pm). I know my employers are my customers and I want to make them as happy as I can.
Recently they approached me and requested I ‘think and pray’ about working more hours during the week. They want me to take 1-2 more days to work in the evening. They told me I can just ‘come in later,’ which is fine, but it takes time away from my family.
My family isn’t awake at 4 am when I work now, but they are when I get home at 4. If I was to wake up at 8 and get to work at 9, my family is still asleep – and it just takes 3 hours a day away from them.
When can I say no? Can I say no? If I was to adopt this schedule I would only see my kids for around 4-6 hours a week – especially on the weeks I travel.
To complicate matters, 2 years ago I wanted to increase my value to my customers so I started a company that supplies my employers with half of their clients. (My side business funnels business to my employers) So finding another job will cut into my income substantially. The only reason I’m in business is because I’m employed by them.
Essentially I’m asking: Should I do everything my employers ask to make them (my customers) happy?
What’s the line if there is one?
As always, to give you specific advice we would have to be in a position of holding many hours of conversation with you and your wife to understand what you do, what your options are, how financially healthy your bank account is, your children’s ages and a slew of other pertinent factors. (This is exactly what we do in our personal coaching program.) All we can do is raise issues that you should consider.
When we were actively serving the synagogue we founded in Los Angeles, we also started an associated elementary school. Since our synagogue initially was composed mostly of singles, the school drew its students from other sources, for example Jewish families in the neighborhood who were not affiliated with any synagogue. As part of the admission process, parents agreed to attend a number of “parent educational evenings” which I (Rabbi Daniel Lapin) led.
The question you ask is similar to one that I posed to these parents early on. I asked each mother and father to write the answer to the following question on a piece of paper:
How many days am I willing to be away from home each month or agree to my spouse being away from home on business travel per month, in order to double our family income?