When my dad passed away – very suddenly – it took me time to come to terms with this loss. Now I feel that this episode is ‘in the past’, because I confronted it but I still sense his absence very much. I suffer from it, especially when dealing with my own family. When you work 9-7 everyday, it does mean you sacrifice time that you could spend on child care. I cannot predict my three children get ill for example. Finding balance between work and my children can be stressful at times and now I don’t even have my dad, their grandparent, to help me on this side of things, or to be there should I need him psychologically. That is challenging.

(Ian works at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Italy. He also wrote, jointly with his wife Nadine, a book called The Karmic Curve, where he talks about the experience of working for the EU and about work-life balance)