Work-life imbalance prompts $100m man to quit

by Sarah Megginson07 Oct 2014
Work-life imbalance is one of our greatest collective challenges, according to California-based executive Mohamed El-Erian, who put his money where his mouth is by quitting his $100million-a-year job to break free from his gruelling work schedule.  
Formerly the CEO of $2 trillion investment fund PIMCO, El-Erian has revealed the reason behind his shock departure in January: a “wake-up” call in the form a letter from his daughter, which listed soccer matches, school parades, and a host of other events he had missed over the years.
“I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-dos. But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point,” El-Erian told Worth.
“As much as I could rationalise it – as I had rationalised it – my work-life balance had gotten way out of whack, and the imbalance was hurting my very special relationship with my daughter. I was not making nearly enough time for her.”
Getting as little as four-hours sleep per night, El-Erian said he was experiencing “what many, if not the majority of working parents experience: work-life imbalance”.
“It is one of our greatest challenges. It’s particularly tough on the more vulnerable members of our population, including single parents and lower-income families. And, inevitably, children,” he said.
Leaving his job at PIMCO has allowed El-Erian to take on a portfolio of part-time jobs that require less travel “and offer a ton more flexibility”.
“I’m the first to recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to structure my life in this way,” he added.
“Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury. But, hopefully, as companies give more attention to the importance of work-life balance, more and more people will be in a better position to decide and act more holistically on what’s important to them.”

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  • by Steve 7/10/2014 12:13:59 PM

    Hardly a case example of managing corect work-life balance - only smeone in a 100 million per year job is in such a position to simply quit. The tone of the article suggetss that holding a 100 million a year job is the aspiration most would reach for, I am sure he will be finaincially secure for some time yet until he finds a mor ebalanced role at 70 mill per year.

  • by Steve 7/10/2014 12:34:19 PM

    I am a big believer in maintaining work/life balance and actively pursue it myself. However, reading this leaves me cold and feeling no sympathy at all for Mr El-Erian. For me, the obsenity that is a $100million-a-year salary overshadows everything else in relation to this situation. I don't think there is any real value in discussing such a rarified and, frankly, stupid case. Only in the US...

  • by Rosalie Chant 10/10/2014 11:54:17 AM

    This is hardly noteworthy when he earned $100m last year and probably not much less in previous years. Even if he paid 80% tax on the $100m he'd still have had a lazy $20m to live and save on. Tell me about someone earning $60k doing something to achieve work life balance and spend time with the family and I might think wow that is great. Perhaps need to think about how the reading audience will interpret articles like this.

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