Last month, Max Shireson gave up his job running a billion-dollar startup to spend more time with his family. And he couldn’t be happier about it. Schireson’s departure from Internet database company MongoDB Inc., which he announced in a blog post that quickly went viral, became a catalyst for a discussion that rarely takes place … Read more
Yesterday, Max Schireson stepped down as CEO of MongoDB, a successful and growing software company, in order to be a more involved father. He used this opportunity to give voice to the work-family struggles of today’s fathers. Why his work-family role modeling is so important.
I hope that me telling this story in my position will help others feel more comfortable in making similar choices and help people in senior leadership roles be more public about it. – Max Schireson
Many corporate cultures make it hard for dads to balance work and family. Let’s not compound the problem by also trapping ourselves. Here are 4 ways to avoid exacerbating our work-family struggles.
A Harvard Debate
I recently wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network*. In it, I discuss men’s flexibility stigma– that is, men who make use of workplace flexibility for family reasons often face negative perceptions and tangible repercussions, even moreso than women.
I then call for working dads who have job security and credibility to start to chip away at rigid company cultures so that it becomes more normal to talk about fathers’ work-family issues. This is a first step, I believe, in a long-term process of making more employers more amenable to work-family concerns.
Overall, the article was very well-received- tons of shares, tweets and comments, almost all of which were complimentary. Many said the piece resonated with them and thanked me for raising this important but under-publicized issue. But there was some debate as well. One commenter:
“Downshifters” are those who eschew the career ladder and choose alternative paths that open up more time for family or other pursuits. For many, the trade-off is more than worth it. This article discusses 5 common types of downshifting.
“The problem with winning the rat race is… you’re still a rat” –Lily Tomlin
When we think about career paths, we often think about climbing the ladder- stepping up our career one rung at a time to positions of greater status, demands, responsibilities and financial rewards. Career advancement is great, but it often comes at a cost- to mental and physical health and especially to time spent with family.
Perhaps there’s another way. A way that opens up time for a more well-rounded life.