Being a working parent is challenging. It can be extremely difficult to find a balance between your work and home life, and when you feel you need to constantly explain yourself to your boss, that just adds to the pressure. That’s why one single dad and company president has penned a viral essay about why his employees don’t need to justify why they need a break, or to apologize for doing what it takes to strike a work-life balance that works for them.
“I never need to know you’ll be back online after dinner,” he began. “I never need to know why you chose to watch season 1 of ‘Arrested Development’ (for the 4th time) on your flight to LA instead of answering emails.”
He went on to give several more examples of when his employees might feel the need to explain themselves, but shouldn’t.
“I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace,” he wrote. “How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. That we don’t trust adults to make the right decisions. How constant connectivity/availability (or even the perception of it) has become a valued skill.”
He finished his essay by relaying an experience he had earlier in his career that shaped his views.
“Years ago a very senior colleague reacted with incredulity that I couldn’t fly on 12 hours notice because I had my kids that night (and I’m a single dad),” he wrote. “I didn’t feel the least bit guilty, which I could tell really bothered said colleague. But it still felt horrible. I never want you to feel horrible for being a human being.”
Work-life balance is increasingly a concern for many employees, so it’s no wonder that Sohn’s words resonated with so many people. Last year, a study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech found that workers whose bosses expect them to be available at all times experience negative consequences as it relates to their personal lives and health.
What do you think of Sohn’s philosophy? Have you fallen into the trap of being always available?