It seems like it was over a decade ago that I was starting my college studies – and that’s because it was! Those days were filled with excitement, energy, and enthusiasm for a career that lay ahead of me. Since the day I was admitted into college, I had aspirations of becoming an investment banker and one day being a Fortune 500 CEO. The name of the company was irrelevant to the goal; it was just a placeholder I created to measure my success and happiness in life. I wanted to wear custom tailored business clothes, have a personal assistant to book my appointments for me, and be “powerful and important.” I wanted to be the boss and the ultimate decision maker.
As I was graduating from Syracuse University and the economic crash of 2008 was happening simultaneously, my dreams of investment banking went down the drain. Nevertheless, my drive to be sitting in the C-Suite one day lived on.
I worked for a Fortune 500 company upon graduation and aspired to be the next CEO. During that time I learned a lot and excelled at my job. I wasn’t just growing and maturing inside the office, it was happening outside the office too. And like many others do in their 20s, I met a girl. A few years later, that girl became my wife. That’s when things started to change.
I still had the drive to advance in my career, but it felt different. I went back to school and obtained my MBA. I switched companies in order to better position myself with my goals. But the days of thinking I would sit at the office for as long as it would take began to fade. I had a stronger desire to be at home than to be in the boardroom.
And then, in April of this year, our daughter was born. And a new desire was birthed with that. One that has changed my outlook on my dreams, and on my career.
I now desire most to be present in my daughter’s life. I want to be home when it’s bath time. I want to read her a book before she goes to bed. I want to drop her off at school, and go on field trips. I want to be there for her whenever she needs me.
I am sure there are Corporate Executives that can say they play a large part in their children’s lives, but their idea of involvement is likely different than mine. Technology has come a long way. I have heard of many parents who are advanced in their career and are still involved with their children thanks to FaceTime. They can call home each night from their office to blow their kids a kiss as they climb into bed. But to me, it’s just not the same.
I want to be there when my daughter says her first word. I want to sit at the dinner table each night and find out what she learned in school. I want the flexibility to be able to attend all of her school and sporting events. I don’t want to just text or email her, I want to look in her eyes and see her smile or cry and be there to high five her or hug her. I want to see the look on her face when she catches her first fish, learns how to ride a bike, and has her first boy crush. I don’t want her to have to guess or wonder if I will be there for all the little things in life.
My work ethic hasn’t changed but my ambitions have. When I am at work, I will give it my all; but my focus will no longer be getting my name on a door on the top floor, rather, it will be getting to hear it said by my daughter each night when I walk in the front door.