By Maureen Farrell
Alan Meltzer told a client seven years ago that if it ever took him longer than two hours to respond to an e-mail between 5:30 in the morning and 10 at night, he'd give $5,000 to the charity of the client's choice. Meltzer, the chief executive of The Meltzer Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based insurance brokerage firm, still has the account and never had to pay off the bet.
Great for his client. Not so hot for his wife. "I was lonely a lot," says Amy Meltzer, who says she's basically raised their four kids. "I forged such a deep bond with my children that sometime when he was home it was weird. He almost wasn't part of our unit."
Despite this, Meltzer and his wife beat the odds, staying married 29 years. On average, couples in which one partner is a workaholic divorce at twice the average rate, according to a 1999 study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Bryan Robinson.
Clearly this is not uncharted territory. It’s just good to keep the whole work-life balance in mind. Alan Meltzer probably made a mistake letting his ‘$5,000 for charity’ guarantee made public. We don’t even need insurance brokering and we’re thinking of enlisting his services just to get a $5,000 check for The Human Fund. Any way, these guys advocate scheduling time off, hobbies, and the occasional intervention to keep a workaholic from crippling a marriage. Sage advice. Plenty of sex probably helps too.