Friday, August 7, 2009

Point of Diminishing Returns

To the best of my knowledge the title phrase for today's post is an accounting term. I might first add that I am in no way qualified to talk about accounting. I am an engineer whose work is governed by the irrefutable laws of physics. Accounting is governed by man made tax codes that change all the time. I understand gravity. If I throw a rock into the air I better move before it comes down on my noggin. I don't understand much of anything about accounting, yet I am using accounting as the basis of this post. Hang on for this one.

My understanding is that this term refers to a point at which the more you spend or allocate to something the less you receive in return. In other words the harder you try once you reach this point the worse things get. You add what would seem like a positive of work or money and you get diminishing returns. I know this is not a suitable explanation for you accountants out there so please bear with me. This post is about fatherhood not fixing books.

I talk about this term today as it relates to my job. I have put in a good deal of work on my job over the past eight years. Our company owns a proprietary waste to energy technology. I have been putting in my time and giving all my efforts to make this company grow. With the current energy climate it seems like the time is now. For this reason I am currently in Scotland thousands of miles away from home.

I never thought of myself as a particularly career oriented person. I thought family was the most important thing to me. I always viewed my efforts at work as a way to provide for my family. Those were my thoughts before this trip. As I sit here typing tonight I have no way at all of helping Arica if she needs me. There is no way possible for me to change a diaper or feed Braden a bottle. My family is home without me. With a baby it is certainly not the ideal situation for any of us.

So I am asking myself have I reached the point of diminishing returns? Are all my efforts to provide for my family only pushing them farther and farther away? Is the hope for more money as empty as my side of the bed. It seems that the answer to those questions is yes. At some point I subconsciously chose my job over my family. I excused it by saying that I was working to provide for them. That is not necessarily true. I am qualified for any number of jobs that would keep my right here in the good ole US of A.

The factor is that I put in all this work and never really advance. I am still the low man on a family owned totem pole of which I share no blood or last names. I could possibly wait forever and be left out to dry. Meanwhile my family is taking all the abuse during my long travelling spells. Different things are important to different people. Some take travel in stride. I never thought I would be one of those people, but I came very close to making that a reality. Now I see what has happened. I see clearly what I am doing to those I care about.

Those of you who happily travel for a living have my blessing. It is a difficult thing to do, but we need some people to do it so I am glad we have you. I myself would like to find a way to excuse myself from your ranks. I know it is not the best climate for jobs, but in time I hope to become more firmly planted at home.

Finally with a lot of help from my family I have realized that I am at the point of diminishing returns. Things will only get worse from here. Don't bother trying to talk me out of it with any promises of fame or fortune. Talk about accounts receivable and tax brackets mean nothing to me. The only terminology that speaks to me now is the language of love.

Arica and Braden, I love you and miss you so much. I can't wait to see you again.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

13 comments:

BellaDaddy said...

OK, so Thanks...this brought a tear to my eyes...truly! I will never agina question being a stay at home, 27/7 dad. Thanks for that too ;-)

Rob said...

I agree with you it is a tough thing to balance. Work and family. I do not travel but work 1:30am till 10am and go to bed at 7pm or so, so I feel like I never really spend time with my family. Not sure what the answer it but let me know once you figure it out.

HeirApparent said...

This is a very timely post for me as well, as I am having similar feelings about my job, albeit from a mile down the road rather than "across the pond." I hope everything works out for you (and me).

surprised mom said...

I think that I am lucky I never traveled for any of my jobs. Right now I have a lump in my throat because your love for Arica and Braden comes through loud and clear. It is wonderful that you can say so in such a loud and clear voice.
I hope you can find a job that keeps you close by for your family. I think this is the time they need you and you need them. Good luck!

WeaselMomma said...

Good luck on the job hunt. I hope you find something that keeps you close to home and provides for your family too. Also, I hoe that you find something that is a good fit and that you enjoy what you do to provide for your family.

Craig said...

It's a constant battle, but worth the fight.

Gunfighter said...

8 years in the Marines trashed my first marriage because I was alwyas gone. Now, happily remarried, I travel two or three times a year, ususally for no more than a week.

To say that I am happy about that is an understatement of massive proportions.

Captain Dumbass said...

At least you realized it now and not 10 years down the road or something and have all that regret hanging over you.

PJ Mullen said...

Good luck to you as you find the best solution for you and your family. It is a very tough act to balance and, as stupid as this may sound in this economy, I've turned down two opportunities to get back into the workforce over the past year because they would have required me to travel two weeks out of every month. I was not willing to compromise what I needed to do for my family in exchange for jump starting my career.

Russ said...

The Wife is doing, almost, what you are. She is gone every other week, doing the Charlotte to California trip for a whole week. It's wearing her down too.

Bee said...

Wow. Your son and wife are very lucky to have you.

Brandy said...

awwwww...

Scott (simplefather) said...

Way to realize it's just a job. I know it's hard to do. I sure haven't quite yet.