Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Business Travel

            Spent all of yesterday travelling around Washington, four different meetings and long conversations in the car with the president of the company. It was a good trip in many ways; enlightening as well as directive. I think we’ll be moving forward fairly quickly, and yet I may be able to stay in my current home for awhile. The new changes that we’re looking at will involve a lot of time, energy, travel, and excitement.
            It also means I’ll be spending a lot more time away from my wife and daughter.
            I came home and discussed some of this with Michelle. I said, “If we decide to go forward on this, we’ll have a higher income and a new car or mini-van, but it also means I’ll be away from the family a lot more.”
            “How much?” Michelle asked with a furrowed brow.
            “I said I didn’t want to be a road warrior and spend half my month away, but we agreed that about a week for every month would be sufficient.”
            She paused, then said, “I’ll support you in whatever you decide.”
            I nodded. It’s a difficult decision because I cherish every moment with Michelle and Celia, and I don’t want to take time away from them. And although it’s more pay, with the possibility for a much larger pay, I am struck by the insignificance of money when it comes to the important matters of family. Yes, we need more money than most of my friends right now, because of all the debt we’re swimming in, but I don’t think we really need that much money.
            Michelle was very clear with me later on in the evening. She said, “Ephie, you know I’d be happy living in a small town near your parents with next to nothing. We don’t need money to be happy.”
            “I know,” I said. “Me too.”
            It’s not just about the money, I realized as we talked it out. It’s about the experience. At this point, I’ve done a lot to help grow the company, but the question remains, in this upcoming year what will I do to grow the company even more? So my product line grew 60%, how can we grow it that much again? If we want to even come close, we’ll have to take a lot of initiative and do a lot of strategic actions.
            It will be out of my comfort zone, which means the potential for a lot of personal growth, and it will be the kind of experience that could potentially be foundational for my skill-set in running business, relating to others, and initiating change in this crazy world. Yes, the additional money will be nice to have, as will the new car and other perks, but I feel like this will be the kind of challenge that I need to make this whole experience worthwhile.
            Deep down I know that I’m going to pursue it, and already I feel a loss as well. The loss of spending less time with the family. How precious my daughter is! How wonderful it has been to spend so much time with her! I will miss that dearly.
            Perhaps a little distance will make our time together that much more sweet. I don’t know. Anyway, I’m going to pursue this change, at least for a few months to see if I’m happy or miserable.
            When I was single, I’d have made this decision in an instant. Now, it’s one of the most heart-wrenching things I’m going to choose to do. I just pray that things are so successful that it only takes a year or two of pushing hard before I can let up again.

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