“Who won’t make you chicken soup”

Or more importantly

“Who WILL make you chicken soup”.

As my first (ever) blog post I want to address the importance of balancing work and life. If you are like me, then you are dashingly handsome, quick witted, funny and enjoyable to be around… or at the very least, you have a professional career that is very demanding and a personal life that gets overlooked sometimes.

I am lucky. I not only have my professional career and personal life, but I also have a second career in the federal service. It was this second career that provided me with the quote. It was during the graduation ceremony for a 9-week long course back in 2009 that a guest speaker said something you would never expect someone to say. Here is the summary of his speech as I can remember it.

[…] You will all be asked to make many sacrifices in your personal lives for this job, but what it all boils down to is “Who will make you chicken soup when you get sick”. It is fine to choose the Army and say “honey, they need me”, but do not forget about your loved ones, your husbands, your wives, your kids. They need you too. Do not always choose the Army over your family because when you get sick, who will be the one that makes you chicken soup? It will not be the Army. They will say to “suck it up” or give you some Motrin and tell you to come back tomorrow. It is your family that will be there for you. Yes, serve your country, but do not forget your family. Once you are out, be it ETS or retirement, you will become an afterthought and it will be your family that is there for you. It will be your family that will have to deal with the ailments that your service caused. Most importantly it will be your family that will love you.

So never forget to take care of your family. The Army has plenty of Soldiers, your family has only one you. […]

You never really expect a person to say, every now and then you need to tell us “No” and spend some time with your family. This is especially true with the Military.

My professional career constantly says to have a good work/life balance. I know many of the Partners at my company, and they truly mean it. My problem is that I do not always follow it. The pressures of deadlines often keep me in the office until late and then many times I’m working from home. Without realizing it, I never turn off work and end up tuning out family more often than not. My career provides for my family. It gives me a certain level of comfort and freedom. But if I have amassed  over 240 hours of vacation time, then I know that I have been neglecting my family.

So who will make me chicken soup? My wonderful wife will, not my company nor the Army. I need to remember that more often by leaving work at work, and enjoying my family.

My question to you is: Have you realized who will make you chicken soup? Have you told them thank you?


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