Expert Q&A with Dr. Mark Promislo on Materialism and Work-Family Conflict

What is your personal advice in terms of what you do as a busy dad to balance work and family?

This issue is very personal and different for every father. Achieving balance between work and family is not easy and at sometimes seems virtually impossible.

Scott has written in this blog about the importance of finding the right life partner, and I couldn’t agree more. My wife, although she works full time as well, is an amazing woman and helps keep our family priorities straight.

I have learned a lot about balance from my kids, too. Reinforcing the results of the study I just described, I discovered that the most important things that my two young girls need are mom and dad! I have spent entire afternoons with my daughters with just a drawing pad and a puzzle. They couldn’t care less about the size of our house, whether we have a shiny new car in the driveway, or if our kitchen is outfitted with the latest stainless steel appliances. And if they don’t care, then why should I?

At the end of the day, once the basics are taken care of, possessions seem like such an insignificant ingredient in a great family life. I want my kids to be comfortable and to attend great schools, and for these purposes I work hard. That flashy new SUV with all the bells and whistles? No thanks – I’d rather take a walk with my kids to the park.

Thanks, Mark! Interesting stuff- and a great reminder to really think through our priorities.

What do you all think about the dangers of materialism? Want to share how you have worked out your financial priorities and work-family balance (or are trying to)? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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Mark D. Promislo, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Management at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. His research interests include work-family, ethics and well-being, and values in organizations; his work has appeared in several prestigious management and psychology journals. Dr. Promislo earned his PhD at Temple, and previously worked for Merck & Co.

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