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My ship has sailed… or has it?

Rich Raether

Rich Raether is Director, Security and Network Services in the Milwaukee office.

When I was a younger man, like most at that age I had dreams that one day I would really make a difference. I would create a cure for cancer, become POTUS or discover a new world. I felt pretty confident in my abilities and experience considering I had grown up on a farm, served in our military, attended college and taught history. That ambition for knowledge and self improvement easily transferred over to a fast paced lifestyle working in the rapidly changing technology field. Early on, my wife and I decided to focus on our careers rather than starting a family, in the hopes that maybe we could achieve some of those dreams. As the years began to pass us by, I started to realize that I probably would not invent the world's greatest bread slicer or leave a legacy behind… perhaps my ship had sailed and I somehow missed it.

As I was fast approaching the big forty, my wife and I knew that we had better get moving if we wanted to have a family. We both always wanted kids, but our work-life balance definitely tilted more towards the work side. We were soon blessed with a beautiful girl and a year and a half later, a precious boy. I knew my life would change having children and I thought it would slow down a bit, but if anything it has picked up the pace! I often wonder what I did outside work before having children, considering much of my "free time" now is spent with my kids. The scales have shifted back towards the life side of the work-life balance and while I am fortunate to have a wonderful family and an active professional career, I am equally fortunate to have an employer that understands the importance of family life. Quarles embraces the family first culture through its flexible hours, paternity leave options and availability of remote technologies which make it easier to work from outside the office - even if that happens to be from the pediatrician's office waiting room.

Being a good father is much harder than anything I have attempted in my professional career. I continually strive to improve myself on both fronts, but I know which one is more important to me. I realize that the ship at the dock is no longer my ship, it is waiting for my children and my job is preparing them to take it.