Juggling Family and Work
CreatedFriday, 11 April 2014
Last modifiedThursday, 18 December 2014
Revised byJean du Plessis
FavouritesClick to subscribe
I am writing this from Cambodia, it is half past 5 in the evening. Hard to concentrate because the neighbours' children (on all 3 sides) are making such a racket. Their dads are home, mom is cooking, there's yelling and hollering and general mayhem as all are at play and the chickens and the dogs scatter for safety. In about an hour the families will all sit down to dinner and neighbours start arriving to shoot the breeze. Work-life balance is not a concept they are familiar with because it has never been a problem here.
True, some families are forced by poverty and accident to let one or more of their mature children go work in Thailand or Vietnam but generally speaking, this time of day in Cambodia is family chaos and love time. This is why they work, to be home.
But life in Cambodia is cheap and easy, some may say. True it is cheap. 50 cent for a beer or pack of cigarettes. $1.50 for lunch on the street. But, they earn $150 per month. So what is the difference then.
The difference is in priorities. In Canada/USA/W Europe we want the highest possible standard of living even at the cost of the family. In Cambodia, even my millionaire landlord cooks under a shed, on a fire, and all the family are there under the shed, three generations of them. Tonight the kids will have passed out from exhaustion around the dinner table, the neighbours gone home with their sleeping children, they lock the gate and go to their bedroom in their mansion. Tomorrow at 5:30 they start all over, outside, around the fire in the kitchen outside. That is how they want it, that is their priority.
What is most important to them, gets the most time and attention.