When modern, successful politicians—like Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin—try to balance a high-level career with a large family, they set lofty goals, and Rabbi Shmuley says they should be commended. However, whether they are women or men, Rabbi Shmuley says people with young children take a risk when running in a political race, because they're required to spend time away from their families. He talks about the ongoing controversy over Gov. Palin's political goals despite raising five children. Plus, he offers advice on finding balance between career success and family.
Rabbi Shmuley says his own career opportunities have often made it seem difficult for him to be a family man, but he says his employers were always able to make a compromise that would allow him weekends off and most evenings at home. "When your kids are in their formative years, you shouldn't take a job where you're away all the time," Rabbi Shmuley says. "For a lot of people, like soldiers, there's no choice, but [my] rule of thumb is that we have to achieve balance."
In Gov. Palin's case, Rabbi Shmuley says people should note that she has a husband, who should be an equal in parenting. "The burden should not be on the mother," he says. At the same time, even though Gov. Palin may have a strong support system to help her raise her family, Rabbi Shmuley says a family crisis should trump any job opportunity. "There are scenarios when parents really need to alter the professional trajectory of their lives in favor of the family," he says. "Men and women should think twice about taking that next big job when their kids are little. Their focus should be on [their] family. They can always run for higher office down the road."
"Each of us desires the intimacy of a family and the external corroboration of professional achievement. We are capable of doing both by maintaining balance. But when push comes to shove, the important—family—should always supersede urgent—careers."