The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: Excerpt and Update

My first book, The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home (Motivational Press, 2015), will launch this summer in time for Father’s day.
Here’s the cover design for the Working Dad’s Survival Guide!

The book is written, has been edited and copy-edited, and is now undergoing formatting. The gears of publicity are snapping into motion. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to unveil the cover design. Also, here’s a quick excerpt from Chapter 4: The Ins and Outs of Workplace Flexibility:

When we had our first son, we decided my wife would stay home. But I didn’t make enough in my job to make that work. I took a different job with better pay, but it required a two hour daily commute. This quickly became too much for me, but I kept at it for the sake of the family. After a while, I went to my boss and worked out an arrangement so I can work from home three days a week. She was super-supportive of the idea, and it’s worked well for the office. It’s worked great for my family too, and my performance at work, if anything, has gotten better, since I’m not as stressed and am not wasting so much time on the road.

I asked my boss if I could take a half day off so I can be home with my daughters for the afternoon – and even offered to log in from home if needed. But, even though there was no particular work emergency, I got the managerial middle finger! What does it say when an employer denies your request for time you have to use before the end of the year and you offer to LOG INTO WORK ON YOUR VACATION TIME if needed? I think I need to spruce up my resume.

In the modern workplace, most jobs don’t need to be performed exclusively, or even mostly, at the office. But most of us still have to be at the office most of the time during traditional working hours.

Sometimes, all we need to make our work-family juggles work better is just a little help from our employers. Just compare the quotes from the two dads at the start of this chapter.  One was able to co-create a great solution with his boss – a real win-win. The other has a bad boss standing in his way, leading to a lose-lose situation.

The engrained workplace tradition of chair-time is hard to overcome. “All in” work cultures are pretty well entrenched, and this leads even well-meaning supervisors to hold onto control instead of seeing the possible benefits of more flexible work. And sometimes, we internalize these concerns and wind up trapping ourselves.

Lots of working dads have benefitted from working alternative work schedules, but, for the most part, companies will not come to us to ask us about our needs for flexibility. We have to take the first step. This can be difficult, but most good things in life are.

In this chapter, we’ll examine some of the most common forms of workplace flexibility, and examine how applicable each solution could be to our work-family juggle. We’ll explore some ways to analyze the family-friendliness of our workplaces. We’ll also consider that we all have different orientations to balance – some prefer to separate work and family, others thrive on integration. Of course, we’ll have several exercises and assessments at the end of the chapter.

More excepts and announcements to come.

What do you think of the cover? the excerpt? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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22 thoughts on “The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: Excerpt and Update

  1. It must be a great feeling full of anticipation for the release of your book! Congrats, Scott! As one of the many dads who opted for the evolution cover, I love it!

    Your excerpt really pisses me off that so many employers are like that. Won’t they ever get that they’d have more productive employees if they respected their workplace and were happy?

    Anyway, can’t wait to read the rest!

    • Not exactly. I intend this to be more like a business self-help book. Chapter 4 gives an overview of workplace flex options. Chapters 5-7 discuss how to pursue these options and navigate workplace dynamics.
      The exercises and assessments are for the reader to think through their situations, in light of the chapter’s material. Lots of personal to-do lists, etc. For example, in this chapter, I have several items a reader could use to decide how “family supportive” their workplace is.
      I am a business prof and the book could be used in a college of MBA classroom (and maybe the teacher in my shows through a bit!), but is intended for a broader audience.

      • I teach second language acquisition (TESOL teacher training) and global issues/media studies at a Kyoto uni, but I know a couple Japanese uni profs who might be interested in your book for their business management and MBA classes. It sounds like the book might be of interest to those of us who teach about American culture and society in general (that’s mainly what my department focuses on).

  2. Congratulations Scott! I love the cover, it speaks a lot about progress of Fathers. My Dad wasn’t even at the hospital when I was born! Can you imagine? I can’t wait to read the book. I don’t know what your financial plan is with distribution, but if you could send free copies to the CEO’s of some of the offending companies, it might make a difference for some working Dads.

    • Hi John- Thanks for the vote of approval!

      And it is amazing how times have changed. One speaker at the Dad 2.0 Summit said that most of us in the room were leading lives that would be unrecognizable to our grandparents1

      I am planning on sending some free books to well-placed executives, but in more progressive companies.

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