12/18/2014 06:37 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2015

Best Life/Career Advice: Relationships Trump Jobs!

Ezra Bailey via Getty Images

My name is Mark Wayman and for the last ten years I have owned an Executive Recruiting company focused on gaming and high tech. Over 600 successful placements, salary range of $100,000 to $2,000,000, with an average compensation package of $200,000+. That includes seven executives north of a million dollars in 2014. Work exclusively by referral. No online job postings; no candidate databases.

Each year I host a small Christmas Party for family and friends at The Magical Forest, which is party of a wonderful charity organization called Opportunity Village. This year I invited 72 clients, friends and business partners. Of the 72 on the list, exactly 36 showed up. Sure, the weather was not stellar, a couple had sick children, and one was stranded at LAX. But the one excuse that really stuck with me was "I'm too busy at work." It reminded me of some great advice I give to candidates - relationships trump jobs. They are FAR more important than your job!

When someone tells me they are too busy at work to attend my Christmas Party, I hear, "You are not important to me Mark. My job is far more important than our relationship." Let me give you five good reasons to value your family and friends over your job.

We Are ALL Busy
News flash, we are all busy; however successful people honor their commitments and show up. They stay in touch with their friends. They return phone calls and emails. And I'll tell you why that is a GREAT idea. There will come a day when you need help. Being an Executive Recruiter, the most common reason I see is executives that are laid off or terminated. If you have not valued your relationships, no one will return your calls. I know several executives that were out of work for two years, then took a 50 percent pay cut just to get healthcare benefits. Why? Because they were "too busy" to treat people right, and when they needed help, no one was there for them.

The Company is All About the Company
Always! Decisions are made in the best interest of the company -- NOT you. I have seen hundreds of executives get laid off after 20 to 30 years of service. And the day you leave you go from "family" to "persona non grata." Consider yourself a consulting company of one that just happens to be on someone's payroll.

Never Marry Your Job
Let's start by acknowledging that your career is important. It's where you make your money, and anyone that tells you money is not important...does not have any. Yes, your job is important, but it's only one component of your life, and I would argue that it falls behind family and friends. Do you know the #1 regret of men in their 50s? That they spent too much time on their job, and not enough time raising their children.

Your Boss Won't Be at Your Funeral
I can pretty much guarantee it. Neither will your peers. You know who will show up? Your family and close friends. Life is way too short to sacrifice your relationships for a job.

The Best Jobs Come from Your Professional Network
And from a career perspective, all the good, senior level executive jobs come from your network. Sure, there are companies that pay Executive Recruiters like me to identify the best and brightest, but MOSTLY executives actually find their career opportunities through professional contacts. Relationships trump jobs every day of the week!