A month or two ago, I remember reading something that talked about these different spheres in each person's life. Your partner, friends, children, parents and church/spirituality are all glass balls that you juggle. Your work is a rubber one. You can drop the work one every once in a while and it won't break. It'll bounce back up and you can continue juggling. The others, if you drop them, they break and are impossible to mend.
When I was younger, I was told the exact opposite (I don't remember the source). Your friends and family will excuse you when your business obligations call. They would understand that you're working hard to support your family.
I'm young and at the stage of my life where.. frankly, my work is very important to me. I'm looking at developing my career. On Tuesday, I had to go to work an hour early for my client and I ended up working very late because I've got a code freeze today and needed to get my work completed. I called my partner in the evening informing him that I was going to be late. He knew of the obligations I had from work and understands my workaholic nature (which he loves me for, silly man!). To me, my work is a glass ball (especially since I'm a consultant). I live with my family who are always trying to do things for me, and I refuse their help (with the exception of letting me live with them). I have no children. I don't go to "church". All of the others are rubber balls that are letting me drop them every once in a while, primarily because they understand the stage of my life that I'm in now. They know I'm trying to establish my career and need to devote my passion into it.
What stage of life are you in now? What are your glass balls? What are your rubber balls?