Work life balance questions and challenges has almost successfully been branded as a Woman’s issue..as a Woman specific monopoly .
So it was with surprise that I read about Max Schireson on huffingtonpost who made the decision to step down from the position of CEO to spend more time with his family. It was the title that caught my attention to be honest, A Male CEO stepping down to spend more time with his family is an unusual headline.
On his blog he spoke about how women are usually asked how they balance work and life. He has never been asked that question and rather is more likely to be asked which car he drives.
He also discussed some of the material things he was giving up by choosing to step down from hios position as CEO, which include
- Travel and the miles that comes with it – 300,000 miles expected from travel, from all the normal CEO travel plus commuting between Palo Alto and New York every 2-3 weeks.
- Potential future roles – he recognizes that he maybe disqualifying himself from future CEO roles. Perhaps firms might not be interested in a CEO, talk less of a male one, who publicly puts his family first.
His company, MongoDB Inc was not exactly a one man company that was just managing to get by, he shared that in his nearly 4 years at the company, they raised $220 million, grew the team 15x and grew sales 30x.
No matter what you think about this decision, he clinched it with the perfect summary where he said Life is about choices. Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have an meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so.
Does it seem nicer and cuter because it is unexpected that a man would decide to step down from a demanding job for his family?
Do you wonder if more men would actually like to do this but do not feel they can?
Perhaps its easier for him to do this because his wife (a doctor and professor) is also working and therefore money is not a problem.
Its just interesting to note that the reaction because a male CEO steps down to spend time with the family immediately portrays him as a considerate loving husband and father. If a woman was to make the same announcement how would it go across? Would it be expected? or would she also be immediately labelled as considerate and loving?
Perhaps men don’t have anything to prove and women are still on the ladder to prove they can be effective outside the home? It was a nice to read about somenone who understands his role as a father and his desire to spend time with his family.
What do you think?