October 20th, 2011
04:09 PM GMT
London (CNN) – Where do you draw the line between your professional and working life? It is the eternal unanswered question for ambitious people, but it was tested to its limits yesterday in Paris – a case study par excellence.
Just to put this in context: the world economy isn’t quite on its knees, but it’s heading that way. A collapse in the world economy would cause untold damage to millions of people, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable.
What could tip the balance is a collapse of the eurozone, something world leaders are working to prevent. There are two people who matter more than most in these discussions and they are the leaders of France and Germany– the two most powerful eurozone economies and its main political backers.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel need to work out a plan to save the euro this week, ahead of a crucial meeting at the weekend of European leaders. It was clearly crunch time yesterday because they called a last minute face-to-face to work out their differences. This was nothing less than a meeting to save the world (economy).
Of course, any self-respecting professional would recognise the importance of saving the world and you would naturally throw yourself in. But what if you had a personal issue you also needed to address? Well it of course depends of the gravity of the issue we are talking about. If it were a dinner with friends, then cancelling would be acceptable. If it were your child’s graduation, it is starting to get tricky. But what if it were your child’s birth?
Bring in Sarkozy. His wife, Carla Bruni, was in hospital, clearly about to give birth. But Merkel was waiting in Frankfurt for a crucial meeting to save the world. Wife? Merkel? Child’s birth? Merkel. Sarkozy? He went for Merkel, and missed the birth (it was a girl).
We do not know Bruni’s view on this, nor Sarkozy’s, nor Merkel’s. But I know that there was a fierce debate in the newsroom about where to draw the professional line off the back of Sarkozy’s decision to leave his wife in hospital. Where do you think you should draw the professional line? Is there one at all?
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