Skip to main content
Alumni Experiences

How Do You Balance the Demands of Family, Church, and Career?

There are no easy fixes to maintaining a workable balance between family and career; it is always a struggle. I have found that this sort of balance can only be achieved through clear focus and relentless personal discipline.

Family time needs to be scheduled with the same vigor and forethought as work commitments and then honored as firmly. When you are home, be at home; when you are at work, be at work. If work doesn't allow you to be home when you are at home, maybe a career change is in order.

Steve Merrell Hollister, CA MBA ‘86

ESTABLISH FAMILY NEEDS as first priority. Commit to family and personal prayer. Hold family home evening and family scripture study. Eat dinner together as a family. Develop traditions and rituals that will create a unique sense of family in your home. Commit to these activities until they become routine. Once they become habitual, you can maintain them during times of stress and crisis.

Learn how to say "no" to those things that will not benefit your family and career. Time is your most valuable resource. Investigate and evaluate before you commit to responsibilities and activities that take time away from your family. Likewise, carefully evaluate expenditures and activities related to the family. A big screen television may not create the type of family togetherness that you really want.

Learn to say "no" to your career when it impacts your family in a negative way. It is a myth that quality time will compensate for quantity time. Spouses, children, and extended family cannot always plan their needs around your limited availability. Teaching opportunities abound in the simple process of day-to-day living.

Karen Taylor Salt Lake City, UT MBA ‘84


A FEW YEARS AGO, I took my young family to Disney World. We had anticipated the vacation for a long time. The children were excited, and we were determined to see and do it all. For four days, we raced through the park and at the end of each day, we were exhausted and stressed because we hadn't done it all and frustrated that we had wasted a lot of time walking from ride to ride, standing in line, and debating what to do next.

Two years later, we went again. This time, we bought a guidebook that suggested schedules for what to do on what day and at what time. What a difference a simple schedule made. We spent very little time in line—hitting the popular rides early in the morning or late in the evening when the lines were short, spending the busy time in the afternoon swimming or resting at the hotel. We had a great time; we did everything we wanted; and at the end of the day when we completed the last item on the schedule, we felt satisfied with what we had accomplished.

Time is our most valuable resource, yet because it's free, it's easy to undervalue. A schedule is a great tool to effectively manage time to make sure we do what is most important to us.

Ron Ellis West Lafayette, IN MBA ‘87


Alumni Exchange: A forum for alumni to share ideas about challenges facing Marriott School graduates