SO after my rant about Rockstars and how the term is so abused something a little more thoughtful.
Got me really interested. I do find it very strange how it is only women, and those in very senior positions that get asked that question. Also when the media do make further comments about it, it's normally repeating the sentiment and has been poked by a male C level business person mentioning it. What about the rest of us?
I can completely understand what Max Schireson is saying but, and I think his wife's position certainly helps his situation, I'm pretty sure that he can afford to take a bit of time off and decide what he wants to do next. Don't get me wrong, I can imagine that the amount of effort that he put in and has been required to get MongoDB to where it is, are immense. I work in a startup now and have been through quite a few over the past few years and know that a good CEO is never not working. I don't think there are many weeks where my current CEO isn't flying off to america to be more face to face with potential customers or funding partners, I don't think its something I would want to do at my current point in life. This thought brings me back to my point. The choices that he has made are no different to the choice many of us have to look at every day.
We were promised a world where we would work less and play more but if anything the opposite has happened. Most of us are connected 24/7 die to smart devices, the pressures of employers in delivery and expectations and the fear of losing your job if you don't appear to be delivering as expected is nothing like the dream that we were promised. This is often only a small part of the problem.
Lets bring it back to myself. As I have said and mentioned in the past I work for a startup, one that has just hit its teenage years, the growing pains of process and policy creation and formality around everything is becoming part of the norm as we start picking up some major enterprise customers. I have a fairly responsible role that should eventually mean I manage people. I am paid well for the job that I do, about average for IT, way above the average for the whole of London as you would expect. My employers are amazingly flexible, working from home if needed is no problems and allowing people to change the way they work to fit in with their life changes and to help them out as much as you possibly can. I am really really lucky, I know that not even local government would be as flexible and they are pretty good. There are certainly not many people who will ever have options like I get.
I have also just bought a house, with my other half, it's not perfect but it's getting better as we do the work, its in an amazing location that's so peaceful that birds wake you up in the morning rather than people screaming or cars racing by. With the house is obviously the thoughts of marriage and children. With those thoughts have come to how can I manage work and kids, not so much the just fitting things in but more around spending as much time with them as possible, seeing all the firsts, not missing all the stupid things they will do.
To be able to give them the life that I want to give them and to still be able to afford to pay for the house, finish building it and feed them, I really need to keep doing the type of job that I do and to do that I need to keep working in the large cities and mostly that will be London. To be able to buy a house that will fit us all and give the kids the way of life that I had growing up (I don't think I turned out that bad), we needed to move out of London and here we hit the problem of Max Schireson. Ok most of us are not away for days/weeks at a time but for me, I might as well be for most of the time. Certainly in their younger years, during the week, I will be out of the house before they wake up and they will be back in bed by the time I get home. I'm hoping we can be one of the lucky families in that my other half can drop her hours so at least she is there for them, as my mother was for me, and we can still live. I'm sure, if I'm still with my current employer that they will help with a solution to get me what I want. I will also say that I still think that I am really lucky as my situation is better than most.
What I am trying to say, in particular to the normal media and to companies out there. Start thinking about these things for employees at all levels, the less they are paid, often the worse the problem. If we can't get people to have the time with their kids what will happen to society? More importantly as people, should we allow this to carry on?