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.