Sacrificing Career for Family - What should you do?

Darryl Bachmeier
Aug 20, 2019

Sacrifice. A 9-lettered word most of us are familiar with, though in almost every case, not in a good way. The thing about sacrifice is that it’s never pleasant. When it comes to sacrifice, it’s always about trade-offs, something that you’re having to let go of for something else. What often breaks people is the dilemma of choice that comes with it. It’s never as easy as choosing one thing over the other. With a choice comes a whole lot of self-imposed pressure as to whether the choice was right, the trade-off worth it, and the sacrifice count?

One of the most common sacrificial dilemmas comes in the form of whether to choose between a career or family. Some people might say there should be no trade-off with a career and others might say the prospect of a career, the process of polishing the resume is just ticking away the precious time that could’ve otherwise been invested to your family. So what should you choose? How do you know which one will be worth it? Can the compromise have a middle ground? Can you have the best of everything?

The answer to these is not easy. To be honest, it completely depends and varies from person to person. You might be so iron-willed that you don’t regret anything in life, that life isn’t about sacrificed or choice, it’s about making a concrete decision and works on it to make the decision count. Well kudos to you, your sense of clarity is much appreciable. But for most, the dilemma is far more strong. Let’s be honest, at the end of everything, the choice is still yours, the sacrifice is yours to make. It’s about what gets priority in your life and how you’re planning to treat that priority.

Weighing in the Dilemma

One thing most of us fail in is understanding the dilemmas. Now you might be thinking about what is there to understand about a dilemma. The thing is when choosing between career or family, are you considering the minor trade-offs as well as the major, obvious ones? Let’s consider a scenario where you have a stable job and a family that is fed by the job. Your dream career is to become a journalist and move from place to place. But switching career mid-life means there won’t be any job security, the fixed income from your current job gone, and you don’t know what will pay for your family’s meals and expenses. Pretty intense right? Even though you want a career in journalism, you cannot jump switch it because your life is deeply intertwined with that of your family and that is problematic. When we talk about weighing in the dilemma, what we’re essentially saying is to try to understand what kind of impact your one choice has on the other. Try to quantify the impact of choices and then try to measure whether the sacrifice of choice is worth it or not.

Understanding the Trade-Off

It’s no brainer that with sacrifice comes the concept of trade-off. You will have to let go of one to get the other. But what helps in this regard is you being clear about what you’re going to gain from your choice. As long as you understand that your choice or sacrifice is something that will bring you peace and joy, we say go for it. Go for it but do not thrust yourself into uncertainty. Outline the choice that you made and work on it to find a balance for both worlds. This brings us to our third point.

Finding Balance

Say you’re choosing your career over the choice of spending time with your family. The choice means spending less time with your kids, missing out on small memories, and not being able to be part of their growing up process completely.

But rather than demonizing it as failed parenthood, let’s just consider whether you’re doing enough to find a balance between the two. You should not sacrifice your career choices for the sake of your family but the same is true another way around.

We suggest try and incorporate family time as much as you can, sure it’s gonna be hard and often stressful, but as it goes, no one said it was gonna be easy.

Living with your choice

This is probably the most important aspect of any sacrifice. So you’ve made a choice of one over the other, now what? Should you gloat over what “could’ve been”? Definitely not. Overthinking destroys the prospects of your choice. If you keep thinking over and over about the trade-off, it will only have a negative impact and basically ruin your mental peace, the reason why you made the choice in the first place. Be true to yourself and your ideas. As long as you’re determined, there really isn’t anything stopping you.

What you need to understand is that it’s okay. It’s okay to prioritize one over the other. Sure the initial phases will be hard but once you settle in, the more comfortable you become, it’ll be worth it in the end. And as time goes by, you’ll realize things can go hand in hand. Do not confine your abilities to the traditional norms, go out of the box and do what inspires you to be better, for yourself and for your family. Because in the end, it’s all connected, and no matter what choice you make, it inadvertently ends up influencing the other.

Let your choice guide you to your destiny, as long as you believe you made the right call, it’ll all be worth it.

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