Having spent much of my working life around type A personalities who pour all their effort into their careers and have little in the way of personal lives, I’ve always respected those who sacrifice some career advancement to get life balance. This doesn’t include just high-powered business executives; I’ve seen it in a mechanic as well.
The way we pay for cars repairs usually involves book hours instead of real hours. A book lists the number of hours each type of repair is supposed to take. Then you pay for this number of hours no matter how long the repair takes.
Mechanics vary greatly in how long they take to complete repairs. A former mechanic friend (I’ll call Dan) used to routinely take less than half the book hours to complete his work, but he says that he worked with some mechanics who would spend all day on a 2-hour job.
Dan was well-liked by his employer because he made maximum use of the space he took up in the garage (i.e., he made them lots of money). And he was well paid because he was compensated for 15-20 book hours per day, even though he was only there for 8 hours per day.
Dan’s employer routinely tried to get him to work more hours, but he always refused saying “I don’t know my way home in the dark.” This was a clever way of saying he preferred a rich life outside work over making more money.
All this came to an end when Dan’s employer tried to impose new rules that capped his pay at 125% of his actual hours worked. So now Dan is in a completely different line of work, but he still manages to get time for his family and a few rounds of golf each week. It can be difficult to turn down career advancement and higher pay, but it is worth it to me.