I turned down the VP of HR job. The deciding factor was my family.
I made a list
I checked it twice
Everything involved with my family (proximity to my mom, Logan and Kaia’s school, time with the kids and with Denette) got the highest marks. The only other thing that rated highest was my freedom to be creative.
So really, my freedom in general was the overarching factor. I want to be free to coach Logan’s soccer team, spend a morning at Kaia’s preschool, have a morning coffee with Denette after we drop the kids off. I can do this in my current job. The VP, HR job? Not so much. But the title and the stability would have been nice. And the power. And the move to Seattle. But what the hell, I’m all about “freedom.”
Oh, and I want time to write. That scored just as high as family. But that’s another post. Or many.
After I made the list I thought “I’m a damn good husband and father for thinking of my family,” then I thought nothing more of it. Then, just before bedtime (on a whim), I sat down with Logan on the living room floor and played cars with him. Without my iPhone. Without thinking about work. Just me and Logan, playing cars.
At this moment I had an epiphany (read: a blood vessel in my brain exploded):
- “If my family is that important, why am I not spending any real time with them?”
- “Why are those stars singing ‘Dancing Queen’?”
Let me define “real” by defining what it’s not:
- reading rss feeds on your iPhone as your wife tries to explain why your daughter freaked out at school today
- being in the same room with your children, listening to them play while you work on an Excel spreadsheet
- taking your kids to practice or gym or drama or whatever and watching them interact with others while working on a blog post
- watching tv with your kids, even if you are cuddling
- playing with your children while you are busy thinking about existing items on your task manager, or about adding items to your task manager, or about what the next version of your task manager will do to help your productivity, or thinking in any way whatsoever about your task manager
When I finally regained consciousness I a) reassured Logan that I was fine, and b) realized that real time is about interacting with my family. Playing with Logan and Kaia, communicating with Denette. Engaging with them on a close, personal level. Without distraction. In realtime.
As I settled in with Logan I remembered how much I enjoyed playing cars when I was his age (in fact, he has some of my old cars), and it wasn’t long before I rediscovered the vast repertoire of sounds I had created to represent different vehicles in various states of momentum—in other words, my cars sounded HOT.
But the most convincing indication that something real had happened that night occurred as we were putting the cars away and Logan said, “I had fun dad. Thanks.”
That shit will make you cry.