Balancing Parenthood, Couplehood and Work by Committing to Each Other’s Careers

Disclaimer- Like all of us, I find balancing work and family to be a constant challenge, and I certainly make my share of mistakes. In this piece, I’d like to discuss something that works well for my family. My intent is to share my experience, not to self-congratulate. 

Finally, an excuse for me to post a wedding picture!

As I detailed in this prior post, my wife, Amy, is a musical theater actress and her career presents interesting challenges to balancing work and family.

When Amy and I got engaged, my well-meaning-but-from-a-different-generation Italian great-aunts/uncles/grandparents/etc got to meet her for the first time. When they met Amy, they were welcoming, lovely and gracious. However, to a person, they asked Amy, “So, are you still going to be an actress now that you’re getting married?”

At first, this question puzzled Amy. She smiled and responded with grace and humor that “Yes, and Scott is still going to be a professor.”

Read more

Negotiating for Work Flexibility (part 3): Fairness Concerns

Why Bosses Say “No” to Flexible Work Arrangements (and what you can do about it).

Part 3 of a Series: They Have the Wrong Idea about Fairness

Despite some prominent examples of companies with progressive cultures when it comes to work-family balance (see this list for examples), most company cultures and supervisors are not particularly supportive, especially of dads trying to balance work and family. Most companies demand long work hours and promote “face time” or “time at the office” as proxy measures for performance and dedication to the company (see this article for an excellent discussion).

No one documents bad supervision better than Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

It is brave to stand out and make a case for a time and place flexibility for your work.  However, it is not impossible, and, depending on your situation, it may be well worth it despite the risks.

Like any request or negotiation, the key is to see the situation from the other person’s side and then communicate so that you dispel most of their concerns and show them how they benefit from the arrangement (Fisher & Ury’s “Getting to Yes” or Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”). The first step is anticipating why your supervisor may say no and proactively address these concerns.

Read more

Juggling Fatherhood and Work Across Generations: A Guest Post From My Dad

First off, a very happy holiday weekend to all my friends and readers. Among the many things I am thankful for- family, friends, health- I am also so grateful for all of your help in making the launch of Fathers, Work and Family a success (3000+ page views, 64 followers, Good Men Project, etc.). While I’m carving the turkey, I’m handing over the reins to the father of FWF, my Dad, Joe Behson. It is my fervent wish that, as we grow older, Nick and I can have a relationship as great as the one my Dad and I share.

Take it away, Dad!

From the Father of Fathers, Work and Family, Joe Behson

Three Generations of the “Behson Boys”!

Have things really changed for dads regarding work and family demands? The answer is yes, and the answer is no.

Read more

Follow FWF, Raise Money for the National Fatherhood Initiative! (Update)

I am very grateful that, in the two months of FWF, we’ve built a readership and community.  According to WordPress.com’s site statistics, we’ve had over 3000 page views- that’s over 130 per post.  Thank you for coming to the blog, and especially for coming back.

But I’m not satisfied with a small but growing active readership- I want world domination! a large and growing active readership!

In my day job, I’m a management professor, so I always teach my students about the power of goal-setting and well-aligned incentives.  A few weeks ago, I set a goal for the blog: 100 readers who follow FWF through email, Twitter or WordPress by the end of the year.

Follow the Blog, Help a Worthy Cause

For incentive, I am donating $2 for every reader who signs up to follow the blog by the end of the year to the National Fatherhood Initiative, a well-established, national not-for-profit whose mission is to: “To improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.” They provide resources, training and skill-building workshops for fathers all over the country, and pay special attention to helping military families and those in low-income communities.  This seems like an appropriate charity for FWF and something we can all get behind.

Read more

Fantasy Football: “Time-Suck” to Avoid #2 (or, Cam Newton shouldn’t be ruining your life)

Time Suck– (n) Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children. (from UrbanDictionary.com)

Don’t let this take over your weekend!

Perhaps the greatest challenge we all face in being both a good provider an a present father is that there never seems to be enough time in a day.  Our jobs and careers demand our time; our kids need a lot of us, too.  It is really hard to find the time.

It is also hard to find the energy necessary to be a great dad.  Stress, time demands, etc all seem to rob us of energy, and prevent us from being relaxed and present.

Read more

Negotiating for Flexibility at Work: Bosses Don’t Know the Facts About Telecommuting

Part 2 of a Series: They Don’t Know the Facts About Telecommuting

Despite some prominent examples of companies with progressive cultures when it comes to work-family balance (see this list for examples), most company cultures and supervisors are not particularly supportive, especially of dads trying to balance work and family.  It is brave to stand out and make a case for a time and place flexibility for your work.

“So, Peter, what’s happening? Ummm, I’m gonna have to ask you to come in this weekend… That’s great. okay?”

Like any request or negotiation, the key is to see the situation from the other person’s side and then communicate so that you dispel most of their concerns and show them how they benefit from the arrangement (a la Fisher & Ury’s “Getting to Yes” or Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”).  The first step is anticipating why your supervisor may say no and proactively address these concerns.

About a week ago, I wrote about one major reason why supervisors may resist flexible work arrangements- they may believe they’ll lose the ability to monitor and assess your performance, and how we can address this concern.

In this article, I’ll discuss a second major reason why supervisors may resist more flexible work arrangements- They don’t know enough about the benefits of telecommuting and just how common it is becoming.  If you want to work out a flexible work arrangement with your supervisor, you may need to educate him/her on telecommuting.  Here’s some information to help you do so.

Read more

A Veteran’s Day Salute to the Fathers who Sacrifice the Most for their Work

Take a quick look, and you’ll realize how  much military dads and their families sacrifice for us.  [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBk0xLyEqhU&w=420&h=315] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBk0xLyEqhU Remember, military dads may be half a world away, but they are not only fathers, they are true heroes- not just to their kids, but to all of us. We should all do more to … Read more

Michael Lewis on the State of Modern Fatherhood and Work-Family Balance

Michael Lewis may be the best non-fiction writer working today.  From his business-related books (Boomerang, Liar’s Poker, The Big Short) to sports-related books (Moneyball, Blind Side; both GREAT books but WAY over-rated movies), he always nails his subject with both intelligence and humor.

Michael Lewis' memoir on fatherhood, "Home Game" contains his typical wit and wisdom
Michael Lewis’ memoir on fatherhood, “Home Game” contains his typical wit and wisdom

While introducing his highly-recommended memoir, “Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood”, Lewis writes:

Read more