On this day before the unofficial start of Memorial Day weekend, I thought I’d share some random work+life fit related observations and insights that wouldn’t necessarily fill an entire posting, but are interesting nonetheless….
“Because I Did It That Way”-itis: Over the past month, I’ve found myself having the same conversation with three male managers over the age of 50 years old. And the common theme is that they find themselves sometimes resisting offering flexibility to members of their team because they personally weren’t able to work that way when they were at that level. And in all three cases, the issues related back to the time they had sacrificed with their children.
As one man noted, “I look at these young parents who want to work from home periodically, or leave early and then work later after their kids go to bed, and I am jealous. I think of all the times I had to work late getting a project done in the office, and what I missed because of it. It’s not that they can’t effectively work from home or shift their hours, it’s just that I wish I could have done it. So I do find myself resentful and resistant.”
My response is always the same. First, I applaud them for their candor. Until we all start being honest about the outdated “because I did it that way,” beliefs that keep us from innovatively rethinking work, real change will be limited. Second, I point out that they had no choice but to work the way they did when their children were little. We didn’t have the technology and the 24/7 time zone business reality. So they need to give themselves a break. And finally, flexibility can still benefit them. Even though they aren’t parents of young children, they may be children of aging parents, or someone who wants to work in retirement. The flexibility ship has not sailed for them, so work with your team to make it a mutually-beneficial work+life fit reality.
Work+Life “Fit” Choices of Michelle Obama and Roger Clemens: Recently, the work+life “fit” choices of Michelle Obama and Roger Clemens made headlines. And they highlight two important issues—Language and Possibilities.