So, here’s the “short” version.
At 11:01pm on July 16th, 2013, my baby boy was born — Nathan Joel. My wife and I had a prior loss which shook us to the core. And so, the entire time during pregnancy, labor and delivery, we were always in some form, holding our breathes, praying and hoping for the best. That our beloved little rib kicking, bed shaking, bundle of joy would be just as healthy on the outside.
But, first, I need to back this up a little.
To really understand where I’m coming from and how I got to this point, you have to take a peek into where I was in terms of my work. In 2009, I graduated from physical therapy school with a Doctor in Physical Therapy degree. In 2010, I got back to working and married my wife in March. As my career developed, I eventually sought out an MBA from the University of Michigan and started to climb up the corporate ladder of healthcare.
In 2013, I finally got the promotion I was waiting for. I moved up to Rehabilitation Director for an upscale senior community and skilled nursing/physical rehabilitation center for patients recovering from surgery and other reasons that require hospitalization. In the midst of that, my son was born. The original plan was for me to take off 3 straight weeks to help take care of the baby. Then, every other week for another 6 weeks summing to a total of 9 weeks where I would be available as a husband and as a father to my newborn.
Things didn’t work out that way.
The new job as a director meant that the program basically functioned because of my existence. Without my presence, the department would practically fall apart at the seams. Sadly, I lost many of the wonderful benefits I had, including that 9 week baby bonding time by taking the promotion into another company. And, it was really rough. The first 6 weeks was insane and by the time Nathan turned about 3 or 4 months old, he started to realize that he couldn’t really depend on my being present. In fact, he started to disfavor me in that not only was mommy the favorite (to which she still is, haha — and, that’s totally cool)… he started to refuse my comfort, refuse my play, and refuse my presence. It was heartbreaking. And, ultimately, this lead me to quit this once-in-a-life-time promotion. See, getting up to a director level is not just a single level jump. I bypassed lead, supervisor, and manager as well. Nevertheless, there was no way that I was going to sacrifice the health and well being of my family for the sake of my corporate pride.
So, I quit! Family comes first.
I took a 6 week sabbatical and learned a very important lesson: I wanted to be the fisherman. See, in the blog from my other website Blog @DrBenFung, I shared a story about a Harvard MBA & Businessman who was on vacation and saw a Fisherman in a small village. Ultimately, the Businessman approached the Fisherman offering advice to help the Fisherman become so successful he’d be the CEO of his own multi-million dollar fishing company. The Fisherman then asked the Businessman what happens after all that success? The Businessman replies that then the Fisherman could retire… go find a small village where he could wake up late, sleep in, play with his kids, take siestas with his wife, and stay out in town, playing music, dancing, and drinking with his very best friends. Funny enough, this was precisely the lifestyle that the Fisherman already had! He may not have had an extensive financial portfolio. However, there was no doubt, the Fisherman was richer.
So, in any case, I had to eventually pick up work again — after all, savings don’t last forever. Starting to feel the financial crunch, I picked up work as a Physical Therapist again. This time, I was hoping just to make enough money to get by while finishing off my MBA degree. I signed up for a part time job; but still, the hours were getting pressed into full time equivalents, defeating the purpose of being “part time” to begin with. The company was very generous with me and tried to keep me on as long as possible. But, at last, I had to quit again. Ironically enough, because this company knew I was going to graduate with an MBA in good time, they wanted to snatch me up and keep me around for management jobs down the road.
To incentivize me to take the job and to stick around, I was given a $6-Figure pay grade.
Still… I kept coming across the same problem. I was getting promoted, getting better pay, and spending far too many hours away from my family. It was making me a bad husband, and, it was making me an even worse father. I wasn’t going to make my family hurt the way we did, Thanksgiving of 2013 — it was really, truly brutal.
So! I quit that $6-Figure job.
We hunkered down, budgeted out savings, and started dipping into funds so that I could finish that MBA and then figure out the next step. Well, once I finished the MBA, things became ridiculous. I was never more highly credentialed nor more highly experienced than I was at the time. Still, no company would get back to me. I had two graduate degrees which I was conferred with honors, a bachelor from a well reputed university, and had management experience and unique public relations exposures as well. You’d figure, companies would at least give me an interview….. Nothing. Nothing at all. For months. And, for more months. Things were getting truly depressing.
As life would have it, social media came into play. I would soon become Chief Content Officer, Consultant, and Partner at Up Doc Media. And, better than anything else, this opportunity gave me the one thing I found my heart seeking after this whole time. I would be working from home.
Certainly, there were financial difficulties and as I’m typing this now, we’re not exactly rolling in the dough. I’m certainly not making $6-Figures. I’m a partner in a startup venture, figuring things out month-by-month and moment-by-moment. The best part? I get to do all this in the lavish and loving presence of my family.
I quit all these things: the promotion, the pay, the prestige; I made this choice because I wanted to be a good dad and was willing to do whatever it took so that I could work at home to be with my family.
Now, we’re here! You’re all caught up in one way or another. Daddy In The Raw is a lens into my journey; the sharing of memories of how I got here as well as the strategies I’m using to making this Work At Home situation… well, work!
Thank you for joining me in this adventure.
I am so very excited about our time together!