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I feel like a terrible employee



During my time in the Navy, I was the first to arrive and last to leave, and it never really bothered me because I enjoyed the things I worked on and the people I work with. Back then I was single and as long as I could make our local bar before the kitchen closed it was never an issue to pull such long hours (or if we were out to sea it didn't really matter how long you worked).
Fast forward to my new civilian life and I enjoy the things I work on and the people I work with, however, now I have a wife and kids. Being the last to leave the office is not conducive to a healthy home life. I feel guilty that I'm not giving the same effort at work as I was accustomed to in the Navy. But when I do, I feel guilty for not giving all my effort to family.
Some other aspects was that in the Military, the recognition and reward was very straightforward, advancement was meant to occur at certain times and if you weren't advancing, it was a clear reflection of performance. Currently, I'm not in a position where there is defined or tangible advancement opportunities, at least not that myself or my manager have identified.
Any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

14 May 2019 4 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Andy Bergin Greenwich, CT


Everyone struggles with the job/home balance. Would love to discuss if you ever want to do that - contact me for a chat. I've got no magic answers - just free advice. A few thoughts:
1) Ensure you and your manager are 100% clear on time requirements expected in your job.
2) Ask if there are any possibilities of doing some parts of your work from home, virtually.
3) Rethink your mindset - judge your contributions by the value you add, not time served.
4) Network with colleagues in other parts of the company where hours are family-friendly.
5) If there are no advancement opportunities, look for another company where there are.
6) People up and down corporate ladders struggle with balance - ask others how they cope


Marvin Feil Newton, NJ

Family should always come first. That is sometimes hard to balance with the needs of a job. There were times when my job suffered because my Family came first. Every decent Manager understood that. Sometimes my Family suffered because something on my job was very important. I always discussed this with my wife and we jointly agreed on what I should do. These decisions are sometimes not easy, but adults need to make them and there is no rule book. My Family depended on my job. There were things my bosses knew I would not do. Civilian life can be complicated.
Part of a Managers job is to do what is necessary for the future of good employees. If your manager can't/won't do this, consider looking, quietly, for another job. Always discuss with your wife. She has to live with the consequences too.


Drew Schildwächter Wilmington, NC

Robert: I think there are times where work probably must happen outside of normal working hours in any high performing organization. Still, I've learned that it is important to set boundaries. If it's important to be home for supper and put the children to bed, then prioritize that and schedule the other stuff when it can happen.


Nancy Quartey Palo Alto, CA

Hello Robert,
I work as a career transition coach and hear many tales of poor work/life balance as well as lack of loyalty/potential in the corporate world. I would be happy to talk to you about your goals and alternative career options to help you achieve those goals. Let me know if you're curious and we can schedule a call.
Best regards,

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