Thursday, March 7, 2013

Circus Nervous

As a junior associate of Harcourt, Briggs, Kedlon & Pratt, Damian Hefner’s daily routine was both exceptionally grueling and highly lucrative. Sixteen hours of every day were given over to the firm. While his father’s standing in the professional community had played a part in Damian’s career pro
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gression, he liked to think his readiness to take on any and all tasks without the slightest hint of complaint had been invaluable. 

At the same time, he couldn’t avoid the reality his family was paying the price for his choices. Such a double-edged sword it was becoming! While his generous salary permitted his wife and two children to pursue interests not affordable before, Damian wasn’t there to share in them.

He hadn’t had dinner with them in weeks, subsisting on meals ordered in. He’d missed all of Bryan’s basketball games and both of Dina’s dance recitals. Even his wife’s charity affairs had been sloughed aside for work. Why did it have to be that, of all the commitments and promises he juggled, the only metaphorical balls he seemed to drop fell outside his spacious corner office?

As if on cue, his father’s condescending voice sounded in his head, “A man who aspires to rise above the mediocre does not juggle his affairs. He establishes concise, well-considered priorities and, by God, he honors them! If you insist on living your life as a slave to disorganization and trivial, secondary concerns, then your name will never be on the wall at any firm.”

While Damian seldom agreed with his father’s diatribes, in this case, he experienced an epiphany. Rising from his desk, he turned off the monitor and swept the day planner and organizer into his briefcase. While he couldn’t fight back the fear he was burning bridges he could never cross back over again, one truth rose above the trepidation.

For the sake of his sanity, his happiness, his family, it was time to stop being the juggler and become the ringmaster of his own destiny!

This story was written for the weekly Trifecta Writing Challenge for the prompt word: juggle. 


  1. Great decision! I think many people (me included) have gone through the internal struggle of balancing career and family. Ultimately we do have to choose one over the other. So glad he chose family.

  2. I totally agree with what you have written. To often we become enslaved to our work commitments ...forgetting our own lives.

  3. Better the meltdown be at work than at home!
    I like "ringmaster of his own destiny". Destiny being the circus that it is.

  4. I could not agree more with Damian's decision at the end-all else is secondary,family does & must come first:-)I liked the way you pointed out the pitfalls of a highly demanding & materialistically successful career-its so sad to see it becoming a norm in India too nowadays-no time left to spend with family or have some fun.Loved this:-)