updated 12 Jan 2011, 01:44
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Mon, Jan 10, 2011
The Star/Asia News Network
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Putting family first pays dividends
by Rouwen Lin

Everything comes at a price.

For Tirrumaran M (pictured top left), who started a software development firm more than a decade ago, it was sacrificing his time.

Being self-employed, it was work around the clock, seven days a week. The phone never stopped ringing and it felt like there was never enough time to do all that he wanted to do at work, much less spend as much time as he would have liked at home.

"My schedule was very hectic. Besides day-to-day operations, I also had to entertain customers. Back when the company was smaller, I was doing marketing, meetings and presentations during office hours and had to help out and monitor my developers after office hours.

"I had to work long hours to meet deadlines. I would return home late very day, way past midnight, even on weekends. Even on days when I decided to leave the office early, I would receive calls while on my way home - calls I couldn't say no to," Tirrumaran says.

At some point, he found himself running two offices, had two desks to work at and two computers to work on.

"I must admit I wasn't very organised. My desk at both offices were always in a mess and I would have everything under the sun saved in windows desktop. I had work-related documents everywhere. My car looked like a mini office!"

But all that changed when his first child came along and he made a resolution to leave the office earlier, spend more time at home and get his documents in order.

"When my son was born in November 2009, everything changed. I wanted to spend more time with him and didn't want to miss seeing him grow up.

"Children develop very fast. One day he turns over and then next he starts crawling and before you know it, he's walking. From the 'ga-ga-gu-gu' to the day he said 'appa', it's been amazing, and I don't want to miss any of that," says the 37-year-old, who hails from Muar, Johor.

Tirrumaran decided to make weekends family time and to be home by 7pm every other day.

"It was tough initially but I have kept this resolution. I managed to stay home most weekends and learned to delegate tasks to my staff and entrust them with running the business when I'm not there.

"I try not to schedule meetings before 10am anymore as my day starts a bit later now, as I drop my son off at the babysitter's before going to work. I had to sacrifice a lot of business opportunities, but it's worth it," he says.

He once thought he had it all. Financially stable, surrounded by a circle of close friends and a loving family, what more could anyone ask for? It was only when he was thrown into his role as a father that he realised how much more there is to life.

"I realised that having a child is the most essential part of my growth and maturity process. I learned to squeeze my schedule into my family life, rather than my family into my work schedule."

It seems a wise step to take, both in his personal life and career. Business is better than ever, the number of customers and solutions have increased, and Tirrumaran has managed to make his work days shorter day by day and spend more time with his family.

This man, who says his resolutions are usually business goals, says he has made a few personal resolutions this year.

"On the top of the list is to be healthy and fit, and pick up photography. I just bought a SLR camera but don't know anything about it yet."

And, of course, there is the family to think about, expecially now that Tirrumaran and his wife are expecting their second child in about four months.

"Spending less time at work and being more often at home is one resolution I think I will stick to!" he adds.

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