Work harder to kill your marriage

Should you work so hard that you give up the time needed for feeding your soul and having a meaningful life? Dan Miller says no!

Here’s a frightening statement.  I read this week where a sales manager was berating his staff for missing their sales quotas.  He screamed at them, “If your marriage is not in trouble, it’s probably because you are not spending enough time on the road doing your job!” 

Okay, now we’ve identified the idiot in the room.  How would you respond to that comment from your boss?  Is that the price to pay for “success” at work?  I hope not!  If you’re not making deposits for success in your personal relationships, physical health, and spiritual well-being, no amount of work success will mean anything.  Don’t let anyone coerce you into sacrificing your meaningful Life for the temporary gain of work success

The story is told of a South American tribe that went on a long march, day after day, when all of a sudden they would stop walking, sit down to rest for a while, and then make camp for a couple of days before going any further.  They explained that they needed the time of rest so that their souls could catch up with them.    (From stories in The Rudder of the Day)

I trust you are feeding your soul as well as a reasonable feeding of your career.

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  • This post left a pit in my stomach.

    I spent a couple years working under similar “leadership.” They would have taken every moment of my life had I let them. I stood my ground when I was told I needed to give more than the twelve hours per day I was already giving and that did not go over well. Now that the experience is over, I’m grateful that I stood up for what was truly important in my life.

    Thank you for always emphasizing this message. It has changed my life.

    • Holly – oh my. So you’ve experienced this first hand. It’s hard to believe there are still owners and managers who don’t understand this. Thanks for sharing.

      • Dan,

        I’m not sure if it was the industry or the corporate sales world in general. But it’s more common than one would expect. I have a friend who just left a very similar situation, walking away from a huge bonus that was to be paid in May. It just wasn’t worth it anymore.

        While it was incredibly painful at the time, I think it has changed our lives for the better. Both my husband and make completely different career choices now. We’ve gained a different perspective.

        Thank you, Dan, for sharing this important message.

  • OneAmericanAmongMany

    Mr. Sales Manager has it backwards. Had he read anything by the late Dr. Thomas Stanley (“The Millionaire Next Door.”) he would have realized that one of the best indicators success in a man’s life is the quality of his marriage. A solid marriage and financial success go hand in glove, and it doesn’t take a Ph D to figure out that having a happy home life is fundamental to being motivated and functioning well in the workplace.

    • Good point. Yes, Dr. Stanley saw the common factor of a strong marriage in highly successful people. Just makes sense.

    • Anna

      Oh, this is so insightful!

  • Steve Mills

    I started to write a small book, but my name is on this so…. I’ll just say that you wrapped it up perfectly by identifying the “idiot in the room”.

    • Ouch – but recognizing the problem is the beginning of solving it. I trust you’re making adjustments to get your life back.

  • KoratDet.

    The job I do requires me to be away from home two weeks every month. I would love to be able to stay home and I’m well past what would be considered retirement age. However, I am raising grandchildren with two living with us and one in college and I just don’t see a way out at this time. Is our marriage strained? Yes of course it is and only dream of the time when I won’t have to do this anymore. Am I am idiot? Probably so but don’t know how to un-idiotize my self with the present circumstances.

    • Wow that’s a tough situation to recognize the imbalance but to also feel trapped. Only you can make those daily decisions about what’s best. There are so many possibilities these days – if your desire is to change I’m confident you’ll see new options appear.

      • Anna

        Dan yes you are correct! KoratDet, I worked for a large firm that sent me to travel (4-5 nights in a hotel, each and every week, plus lowered my pay). I’m in my 30s but I knew after a month that was NOT for me. God blessed me with a new job with bosses that I LOVE but I had to go looking for it! I decided there was no way I was staying in that situation for any longer than I had to and I hit the pavement looking for a new job ASAP. My life today is AMAZING and I no longer feel trapped or stuck (which I had felt for 7 years prior to that). I hope this encourages you to keep pushing and searching for work you love.

        • Anna – way to take action. Too often people get “trapped” just because they have something in place. Yet so often the good is the enemy of the best.

        • KoratDet.

          I only wish I was thirty, here i am at 69 and raising another family.

          • KoraDet., I don’t think anyone here would call you an idiot. I realize it’s likely been some time since you visited this forum, but I wonder if you’d be willing to open further discussion on this matter. There is always *something* to be done about a crummy job outlook. As an example, I live in an area where the biggest employer is the hospital which pays an average $12 an hour. People hope for the job that’ll give them the most overtime. The average 69-year-old is working the same job he/she worked 30, 40, even 50 years ago, making maybe $5 an hour more than what they started with. You get the picture and I digress… If you want to chat, shoot me a reply on here. I would be happy to lend an ear.

  • Elizabeth

    dear KoratDet- the idiot was the boss who required so much… you are the grandmother who gives so much… bless

    • KoratDet.

      The boss that required so much of my time is the boss of demand. I guess you can say I’m to responsible not to take on all of this with the grand kids. Don’t get me wrong I’m really not complaining I just wish it was as simple as cutting back my time at work and it’s not that at all. My wife takes care of running after kids at home and I’m away from home to finance it all. I would much rather be at home believe me then to be away from home like I am now. There are other issues in peoples lives that require our work time other then running after money,trust me, I’m not running after money to get rich just to survive. The sad part about this is that are so many grandparents doing this very same thing. My wife and I are fortunate in that we do have our health and I’m still able to work and we seem to have a society that hasn’t seen what is going on.

  • PaulVandermill

    Such expectations exist in the healthcare industry as well, particularly for management personnel. Sadly, it isn’t likely one can ever give enough. What we risk when we do not set and keep strong boundaries is failure in all the domains of our life! KoratDet, if you don’t, please listen to Dan’s podcast and pick up a copy of 48Days to the Work You Love or perhaps No More Dreaded Mondays!

  • Quisp

    Software sales is also like this. My last job almost ruined my marriage and destroyed my health. My boss was fond of reminding everyone on the team that this “is not a 9-5 job”. Ok, I have never worked just 9-5 but 10-12 hours everyday just to keep up and work on weekends to catch up with the incessant urgent demands not to mention the unattainable quota was unrealistic and unnecessary. I quit before they fired me. Now in a much better situation and still in software sales. Just not at a hyper-growth, silicon valley death march company.