Work really doesn't love you back

I happened to chance across this very good article in FOTF SG:

For a very long time, I have been thinking about the opportunity costs of over-committing to my own work and other stuff, compared to my family and also my 'future' family. The question that I normally ask myself is if it is worth it to work long hours on the pretext that we are providing for family or 'doing God's work' (in the case of over-committing in ministries). In that sense, I have had a difficult conversation regarding this area of my life recently, on whether I am over-committing myself. While I can draw a clear line between my professional work and the other parts of my life (not that there is a segregation between the secular and the sacred, I'm not advocating this here), the line is not so clear when it comes to my life outside of work. It doesn't help when I seem to be taking up more responsibilities here and there.

But perhaps the one line from the article sums it up best: our work will not love us back. Our family is simply too fragile to simply receive our leftovers after we give our best to our work. And hence the assessment of our opportunity cost has to go beyond our monetary and financial concerns (which are not trivial) to consider the balance of our families.

The reason why I am thinking and talking about this is also because I am worried on the trend of our modern lifestyles, where people, due to the advancement in technology, can be reached through their smartphones and tablets and hence get no break from work even when they are out of office. I wonder if this is right. I remember talking to someone about this and he commented, "what would your kids feel if you, as the parent, are more interested with your emails when you are supposed to be spending time with them?" If we are serious about our families, and increasingly evidence is showing that most children thrive most in a healthy family, then we need to ensure that our assessment of our cost leans towards our families, and not our work.

Now this goes beyond professional work, especially if you are someone like me who have other commitments and responsibilities outside of work. One of my close friends asked me once, "what if one day the two merged and you are called to full time ministry?" I honestly do not know the answer, except that I know there are periods in the week which must remain sacred.

One thing I know for sure: I don't want to ever end up like some people I see today who work even when they are on leave with their families and loved ones.


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