El-Erian got personal in an essay in Worth—without the weird of Gross—explaining why he felt the need to leave. His revelations bring about the question: Well, how much money do you really need, after all?
El-Erian very plainly says that he quit his job as CEO and co-CIO of the multi-trillion dollar bond company because “my work-life balance had gotten way out of whack.” He writes that the seed was planted one evening when, resisting his authority come teeth-brushing time, his daughter gave it to him straight:
“She asked me to wait a minute, went to her room and came back with a piece of paper. It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. Talk about a wakeup call.”
Her list, numbered at 22 and probably growing, had the usual things that all working parents dread missing, even when we have to: sporting events, the Halloween parade, and parent-teacher meetings. For many Americans, the difficult reality is that there is little choice when it comes to choosing between work commitments and being there for our kids. But El-Erian sits on more money than most people will see in generations, earning $100 million in one year.
In our race to make it to the top of our professional (and pay) ladders, as we scramble about doing the gotta-pay-for-college dance, check in to see if your child is looking up at you saying, “I’m here, right now. I need you right now.” No matter how much you save for the future, there are few investments better than the present. In that way, El-Erian may have gotten something very right.
Now, if only we had PIMCO CEO money to make things a bit easier.