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
One of my goals in starting this blog was to build a community of busy, involved working dads who could share their experiences, insights, challenges and triumphs. In this way, we’d know that we are not alone in our work-family juggles, and that we could be sources of emotional and tangible support for each other.
The FAMILY act would create a national policy of paid parental leave. Why I think this is a great idea.
When I was on NPR last week (you can listen here) to discuss paternity leave, we took lots of great phone calls from listeners. Most callers lamented their lack of available paternity leave.
One caller, however, had lived in Montreal, where new dads are entitled to up to 5 weeks of paid leave, with wage replacement up to 70% of one’s earnings. It is no wonder that more than 80 percent of new dads in Quebec take paternity leave. (for more on the benefits of paternity leave, seehere)
For those of you who are visiting Fathers, Work and Family for the first time, feel free to have a look around. More information of paternity leave here, a link to my “Greatest Hits” here, links to my work at HBR, Good Men Project and HuffPo up at the top of the page, category listings along the right-hand side, and of course, buttons you can use to follow Fathers, Work and Family via email, twitter or Facebook.
Here’s the audio:
Welcome! I hope you find this blog to be a valuable resource and that you come back soon.
Sociologist Erin Rehel conducted a fascinating research study on paternity leave and changing perceptions of masculinity. Here’s a Q&A with Dr. Rehel about her research and its implications for working dads.
Tell us a bit about your study
My research examines the connection between fatherhood, work, social policy, and shifting ideals of masculinity in the United States and Canada. I conducted 85 interviews with fathers and their partners. I find that fathers today draw think differently about masculinity and fatherhood, but there are societal and workplace barriers that force many dads to fall back into less involved parenting roles.
In this particular study, “When Dad Stays Home Too: Paternity Leave, Gender, and Parenting,” (forthcoming in Gender & Society), I argue that when fathers experience the transition to parenthood in ways similar to mothers, through formal or informal paternity leave, they come to think about and do parenting in ways that are similar to mothers.
Paternity leave provides the space necessary for fathers to develop the parenting skills and sense of responsibility that allows them to be active co-parents rather than helpers to their female partners. This shift from a manager-helper dynamic to that of co-parenting creates opportunities for a more gender-equitable division of labor.
This Veterans’ Day, I am launching a fund-raiser for the National Military Family Association. Please join me in supporting our veterans and their families.
The basic premise of this blog is that balancing work and family can be hard for dads, and we all could use some help in facing this challenge. If a cushy-job-tenured-professor like me often struggles, I can barely imagine the challenges men in the US military face (see here for a guest post by a military dad discussing handling work stress).
In his book, Mark Owen, Navy Seal and the author of “No Easy Day” (a book I highly recommend), discusses the work-family conflict challenges facing military families:
Chevy Malibu* launched a new ad campaign that extols the virtues of valuing family over materialism. This rare and honest depiction of everyday dads is a refreshing change from the glitz we often see.
When I watch TV, I almost always tune out the commercials. But while watching the World Series the other night, there was an ad that grabbed and kept my attention. (In fact, my wife, whose only flaw is that she dislikes baseball, was in the room at the time and told me “this ad would make for a good blog post for you”)
Car ads typically try to entice the buyer by showing how THIScar will make others see you as richer, cooler, more sophisticated, more powerful. This ad for the 2014 Chevy Malibu stands out- It extols the virtues of valuing relationships with children, significant others, and family over career ambition and status-seeking. It’s worth watching:
On Wednesday August 21st, I published my first article at the Harvard Business Review Blog. The response to the piece has been great, and for quite a while it was one of the most read pieces at their site! For those who haven’t seen the article yet, here’s the beginning, plus a link to the … Read more
Job-seeking parents need to consider more than just pay and advancement opportunities when considering career opportunities. Here are 4 less obvious factors to keep in mind.
When considering a potential job offer, we are often acutely aware of such factors as pay, opportunities for advancement and benefits like health insurance. These are important, but sometimes the less-obvious features of a job/employer can be the difference between a difficult situation and a job situation that suits you and your family.
Many workplaces are not open to men prioritizing family while at work. To change this, we need visible role models- fathers who are both respected at work and take noticeable actions to balance family responsibilities. If you have the security and courage to do so, here’s some advice on how you can become that role model. (part 2 of a series)
Two weeks ago, I began a series of articles* about how we can “be the change we wish to see” and help make our workplaces more accepting of fathers’ work-family issues. We can do this by:
Talking about our families & asking other men about theirs (see part 1)
Making sure other men in our workplaces see us occasionally use work flexibility for family reasons
Starting a Beer Fire! (a group of male coworkers to discuss life outside of work)
In the first installment, I wrote about how we can make coworkers feel more comfortable discussing their families while at work by taking the lead and starting these conversations. Today, I’d like to go one step further and discuss how we can use our actions to role-model work-family accommodations.
Many workplaces are not open to men discussing family while at work. Here are a few things we all can do to help slowly change our workplace cultures so that fathers can feel more secure in discussing, addressing and even accommodating family demands at work.
To some degree, this was good advice. Many workplaces are not open to discussion of family, and work schedules and demands are still structured around an “all-in single-breadwinner with at-home spouse” approach that is a relic of another time.
But employers will never change if dads assume that employer hostility towards family demands are set in stone, and that dads must only resort to working through holes in the system, through informal arrangements or “invisible” accommodations.
You know what? I’m tired of waiting (waiting) waiting on the (work)world to change. If my generation of busy involved dads don’t start making change happen, company cultures will remain unchallenged, and more and more dads will have to struggle seemingly alone. Change is possible, and there are some prominent examples of workplace cultures that are supportive of work-family.
So how can we start making changes? I’m glad you asked. I have a few ideas…