Mohamed El-Erian, the former head of a $US 2 trillion investment fund and the current Chair of US President Obama’s Global Development Council, has revealed he quit his job after his daughter wrote him a list of 22 milestones in her life that he had missed during his career.
In a personal essay, the former CEO of PIMCO investment fund, who was once rumoured to be considered for the position of head of government in Egypt, wrote that he received a ‘wake-up call’ after realizing that he was not making enough time for his 10-year-old daughter and his wife.
“The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. And the school year wasn’t yet over,” revealed El-Erian, who was born in New York City but spent most his childhood in Egypt as the son of an Egyptian Ambassador.
“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,” he explained, before adding that he could no longer rationalize his absence from his daughter’s life.
“It dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point. As much as I could rationalize it – as I had rationalized 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.”
More than a year after changing the pace of his career, which in 2011 saw him making $US 100 million, El-Erian says he is happy with his decision.
“I now alternate with my wife in waking up our daughter every morning, preparing her breakfast and driving her to school. I’m also around much more often to pick her up after school and take her to activities,” wrote El-Erian.
“She and I are doing a lot of wonderful talking and sharing. We’ve even planned a holiday together, just the two of us.”