Work Life Balance

Male CEO Chooses Family Over Job And It’s Considered News‏

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max-schiresonIn more news from Rip-off City, the male CEO of MongoDB has decided to quit a sweet job to give his family priority, and everyone is racing for the gold stars.

Let me say right off the bat that Max Schireson sounds like one hell of a guy, for serious. He wrote a blog post entitled “Why I am leaving the best job I ever had” and it is a great read. In it he tackles the idea of “having it all” head on and drops some truth bombs all around town:

“Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.”

He goes on to talk about his kids (he has three), chronicle how much he travels (a lot), and talk about some things he regrets missing (the unexpected death of a puppy, one of his children’s minor surgeries).

It is an honest look at the kinds of things that working parents grapple with. He gives some major ups to his wife, who is a doctor and professor and talks about how lame it is that while people are asking him what kind of car he drives, they mostly ask her about balancing motherhood with that adorable job she has. As I said, Max Schireson sounds like one hell of a guy, and I respect what he’s doing in a major, major way.

Still, I’m not reaching for my sheet of gold stars yet, because in no way is this is a remarkable sacrifice. I am not exaggerating when I say that literally every mother I know has made similar decisions; stepping away from “the best job they’ve ever had”, putting off  education or career goals, or some other variation of “balancing work and motherhood” that sucks but is necessary. While none of those women are CEOs, that didn’t make those decisions any easier, and so far no one has come racing in to dole out back pats.

There’s criticism aplenty of course; that they should have stayed in the workforce or that they should have stayed home or that they should have grown five extra pairs of hands and two extra heads to make it all work.

The fact is, the onus for sacrifice shouldn’t fall to one parent or the other. Parenting is sacrifice, and if one parent is taking one for the team over and over again, something is going wrong. It speaks volumes about how we view this stuff that Schireson is being lauded as a god among men.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give him the props he deserves for going against the grain, I’m saying let’s give everyone who makes tough career decisions props for it until such time that it isn’t weird to see either parent doing it.

In the meantime, I wish Max all of the best and will continue to squee over my favorite comment on his blog post:

“This is Isabel (12, daughter). I’m glad you will be able to spend more time with us at home. yayyyyy.”

Because in the end, that’s the only sentiment that matters.

(Image: Facebook)