Work and Family, A Conflict of Generations?

Can the causes of work-family conflict be traced to generational differences in priorities? Here’s the evidence- plus what we Gen Xers can do to improve the situation.

Three generations. We all probably see the value of work-family balance a little differently
Three generations. We all probably see the value of work-family balance a little differently

Talkin’ About Our Generations

I think studies based on generational differences are over-rated. After all, how valid could it possibly be to lump together people 48 years old to 33 years old in order to compare them with people 49 to 67 years old? I mean, wouldn’t the 48 and 49 year olds have more in common with each other than the rest of their purported “groups”?

With that caveat, I recently came along “Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees,” by Greg Hammill, in which he summarized some of the findings about different work-related attitudes and values among generations. This chart caught my eye:

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The First Year of Fathers, Work and Family

One year ago, I started this blog, not knowing what the public reaction would be. I feared a great big collective yawn.

Nick's right. Moments like this are more important than work
Nick and I thank you for helping make this blog successful.

I am eternally grateful that you gave me a chance and that you found the blog valuable enough to keep coming back. This venture has led to new friendships and professional contacts, but, more importantly, I believe we have started a community for those who support work-family balance for fathers and created a safe place where we can share and discuss ideas, advice and our stories.

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The “Opt-Out Generation,” Mothers, Fathers, Work and Family

Welcome HBR Readers! Please take a look around (see the “best of” category link on the right-hand side of the page) and feel free to like/follow the blog and spread the word.

Most of us don’t want to opt-out of a rewarding, successful career. Most of us don’t want to opt-out of being a present, involved parent. Hopefully our generation can find a more balanced, integrated path.

A screencap of the recent NYTimes Magazine cover story
A screencap of the recent NYTimes Magazine cover story

The NYTimes Sunday Magazine’s fascinating cover story, “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In” by Judith Warner, paints a complex picture of the dynamics of work and family. While it focuses on high-earning women who gave up their careers to be stay-at-home moms, it has very interesting things to say about how men’s and women’s progress towards work-family balance are inextricably tied.

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Downshifting: 5 Ways to Slow Down Your Career for Family

“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

For me, plateauing my career opens up more time for family.

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.

Life in the (slightly slower) Lane

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Finding Work-Life Balance Through Charitable Giving

How one man found purpose and better work-life balance when he discovered the importance of charitable giving. Here’s how we can make charity part of our work and our lives.

Sharing Experiences is a series of articles written by dads about their work-life experiences. These are shared in the hopes of generating conversation, sparking ideas, and letting dads know they are not alone in their work-family struggles. For more of these stories, click on the category link on the right-hand side of your screen.

A guest post by Noble McIntyre

Our guest blogger, Noble McIntyre, with his colleagues during his company's charity drive
Our guest blogger, Noble McIntyre, with his colleagues during his company’s charity food drive

Why Charitable Giving is Important

As we mature and develop our careers, the one resource we never seem to have enough of is time. As a personal injury attorney with a wife and three daughters, my days are frequently packed. Between commuting, handling clients, and attending my daughters’ various extracurricular activities, I have just enough time for my work and often just enough for my family — with very little left over.

A few years ago, I began to feel something was missing. My line of work frequently puts me in a position to help people who are injured and suffering, but taking law cases is not the same as giving selflessly to others. But with my work and family life already occupying so much of my time, how could I make more room for charitable giving? Organizing (or even attending) charity events would take time I simply didn’t have.

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