A Father Without a Family: Whilst I have accepted my role in the demise of my marriage, I think it is important that I talk about how my choice of career has also affected my ability to maintain relationships including the one with my ex-wife. I have spent over twenty years in the Broadcast and Entertainment industries, travelled all over the globe, and worked on just about every type of event you can imagine. Sounds great? Sounds like an awesome lifestyle? Well it is. What it is not, is great for a loving relationship.
So many colleagues of mine have travelled the same route as me in losing a marriage, many more are eternally single, choosing to not put their heart on the line when they know they either cannot maintain the commitment or do not want the heartache. So much so now, that when I talk to friends that are still with their partners, I see them in an almost superior light. How are they making it work? One of the biggest challenges in this industry is the constant travel and long hours. You miss so many family events, weddings, birthdays, kids walking for the first time, you name it. All in the name of the ‘show must go on’. Seems a little silly now, especially with the benefit of hindsight given what I have lost. You lose almost all of your original friends only to be replaced with work colleagues who you spend more time with than family anyway. Allot of us end up in relationships, even if they are short term, with people we work with. The main reasons are loneliness, and what we perceive as an understanding. Believe it or not but travelling for months on end can get quite lonely. The long hours, 18+ a day for weeks on end, wear you down, so it’s not that hard to imagine falling into the arms of person you are learning more about than your own family.
Balancing this is the fact that my work is very rewarding. I do get to go places and meet people that the average person does not. It really is a single person’s game though, and if you are open for travel, hard work, and plenty of great people then it is a great life. Despite marrying a woman who was also in the industry, I failed to understand the impact having children would be on her as a career woman. People like me often swap stories of the latest issue with their ex, battles with child custody, money, never being able to get to football practice or dancing are all common features in my line of work.
Putting my work aside, what I am getting at is the impact of not managing your work-life balance. So many of us are wrapped up in the materialistic value of providing the shiny car, nice house, and wake up one day to find it all empty, the family have gone. Time equals quality, not anything else…
I have some great friends, most of them are from inside the industry now, while a handful remain from my school years, and to be honest they the best a man could ask for. At 41, I feel blessed, I think if we really look at our friendships, the ones we really value, and we can count past five we are lucky. True friends are very hard to find, most fall off the edge when the going gets tough.
I wonder if one day there will ever be enough momentum to make real in-roads into improving work-life balance for the Broadcast and Entertainment industries. One shot….
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