Balancing Work and Family

It was the most important part of the interview process.  My work life balance.

It was something through the nearly 50 job interviews that I was a part of asked each and every time.  The recruiter could see the ring on my finger.  They would see my position with Dads Round Table on my resume and ask me about my family.

They would bring up how much of a commitment this job was.  That there could be some long days even some weekend work.  It wouldn’t be just a 9-5 job.  But what job isn’t in our current culture.

Balancing Work and Family

Image Courtesy of Interesting Things

I was up-front and honest with the interviewer.  I explained to them that I am a family first guy.  If that means that I need to take the day off to be with my sick son that is what I was going to do.  It was extremely important to me that I get home in the evenings to be able to spend time with my family.  I said that if there are times where I have to work late or on the weekend, I would like to do that from home so that I could be with my family.

I know for certain that this turned some companies off from me.  I know that I was qualified to do many of the positions that I was being interviewed for.  It was my honesty that lost me some of the jobs.

But that honesty, turned out to be the best decision of my life.  I am now in a position with a company that allows me to come in early so that I can leave early to spend time with the family.  If the Kid is sick and if I have work that needs to be done, I can bring him into work with me.

The work life balance of many men are being brought into question now that CEO’s are bringing it all into the limelight.  Sid Mathura, the VP of the Mattel subsidiary HIT (which also produces Thomas the Tank Engine for PBS who I now work for) made it a condition that he is home every weekend, no matter where he is in the world.

Every Thursday, Kevin Cleary, Clif Bar’s CEO, leaves work early to coach his twin son’s baseball team.

For many men though, this doesn’t come easy.  Personally, I miss some work functions that many of my colleagues attend. Does this upset me?  Not in the least.  My family is the most important part of my life.  If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be in my current career.

As men, it is drilled into our heads to be the bread winners of the family.  That may mean that we are constantly working.  That may mean catching a peek at our email while we are waiting for the kid to come up and wrestle with us.  Where has my family focused got me in my career though?

One thing I have noticed since making my family a priority, my colleagues respect it.  They know that every day at 4:30 I leave to pick the Kid up from daycare.  No longer do they question why I am leaving early.  They know that I am come in early work hard during the time that I am working and go home to spend time with my family.

It pays to be honest.  Not all jobs are like mine, I realize that.  What I did during my job search was a calculated risk.  I knew that the jobs that couldn’t respect my family first mentality were not the jobs for me. I lucked out, I am now with a company that respects my role with my family.

It wasn’t easy, but it paid off.

About The Rookie Dad

I am husband and father foremost. Secondly, I am a PBS producer and contribute to Traveling Dads and Dads Round Table.

Posted on September 25, 2014, in Fatherhood and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    It wouldn’t be just a 9-5 job. But what job isn’t in our current culture.

    I’ve been the breadwinner in my family, and I’m looking ahead to interviewing knowing I, too, must be honest. That honesty will enable me to find a company with values most in line with my own. That’s what’s most important to me now, even if that’s different than where I was at earlier in my career.

    • I just spoke with a co-worker earlier today that was here until 9pm and said I couldn’t do that now with my family. He said that it is a bad habit to start and he should really take a look at leaving work at work. He is right, once you start showing to your co-workers that you are willing to stay late they will use and abuse it.

  2. I need my husband to read this. He works his ass off for our family and I tell him all the time that if he respects his time, they will respect his time. Thank you for the reinforcement.

  3. I really liked this post. Thanks for the link to the Times article as well. I think that article misses the reality of most people though: many don’t work 9-5, mon to Fri gigs anymore.

    • Unfortunatly, you are right. I’ve been there. I used to work overnights as well as weekends. I had the hardest time working the weekends when my son was born because that was when most of the things that we wanted to do as a family happened. It won’t work out like mine all the time. As I write this, I look at going into work on a Saturday evening, but I knew that there would be some times like this and it was a trade off for the other times that I can take off early to spend time with the family.

      There has been many companies lately who are starting to take a focus on the family which I am excited to see.

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