“I rarely get to see my kids. That’s a risk you have to take.”
Jason originally noted that this promotes unhealthy workaholism, but I believe this goes deeper than that. This is a representation of the systemic issues that face parents in tech. We have unrealistic expectations for parents, and while this quote is a slap across the face for every parent fighting to balance work and family, this is something we’re all unconsciously feeding.
Many parents in leadership positions in tech have to put family on hold because the same opportunities aren’t given to parents that are given to single people who can invest themselves completely in their work. Meanwhile, parents have the most to lose and therefore have more motivation to make things work. Parents in leadership positions run teams more thoughtfully and focus on sustainable growth strategies.
From evening events to unhealthy work habits engrained in culture, parents are often given the option to prosper and sacrifice, or plateau and maintain family. As teams mature and have families, culture depends on adapting to the needs of individuals to keep talent. We mock the 9-to-5 as a grind, but often it’s a necessity to facilitate children’s schedules. Being conscious of that perspective is important and will also help to combat workaholism.
We need more parent role models in tech sharing their stories (and, more importantly, being given a stage to do so). We need more accessible events, resources, and opportunities that parents can be a part of without sacrificing one part of their lives for another. But more importantly, we need to change the way we view and value work and the importance of parents in our industry.
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