As a working dad, I know what it’s like to wish for more hours in the day. It is becoming increasingly difficult for any working parent to decide when work should end, and personal life begin. Finding work-life balance has always been an inescapable necessity of any professional career, but COVID-19 has redefined the expectations of working parents in radical ways. Professionals with children now face more responsibilities than ever before between homeschooling, 24/7 caretaking, and fulfilling the demands of remote work.
Plus, we must figure out how to meet our daily responsibilities while ensuring our partners or co-parents can make their way through their own to-do lists. Did I mention that many of us are doing this all under one roof? Keeping our entire family on track in the same space during a pandemic might seem like a fantasy challenge fit only for a video game, but this is now real life for many. Many of us have leases or mortgages for a space that we never imagined would have to hold so much activity all at once.
Though challenging, it is more than possible for working fathers to succeed in their careers while setting their families up for success at home as well. If you are struggling with the feeling that career success is interfering with your duties at home, know that you are not alone. Here are some tips for how to improve your work-life balance as a working father.
Remove Your Ego From The Picture
As parents, we tend to fear failure more than most. We’re not the only ones we have to think about now. If we misstep at work, the implications impact our partners, co-parents, and even our children. The pressure is real, but the higher we put ourselves on a pedestal, the more likely we are to fail.
The reality is that no one is looking as closely at your performance as you are. Because the pressure as a working father and professional is so tricky to navigate, I advocate removing your ego from the picture. In turn, you will find yourself less afraid of failure and more open to learning from your mistakes.
Consider A More Flexible Work Schedule
The world is more accustomed to remote work than ever before. While some can feel overwhelmed by not knowing where the office starts and the home ends, there is something positive about formerly resistant organizations permitting a work-from-home lifestyle. Use this to your advantage by considering and negotiating a work schedule that works best for you and your family.
We are well into a year of COVID-19. Therefore, it is likely that you have already played to the strengths and weaknesses of your remote workplace. Of course, any transition presents a learning curve. Having already navigated working from home can help you successfully negotiate a more flexible schedule with your employer in the future.
Take A More Introspective Approach To Your Career Trajectory
We typically evaluate our career paths not only through a linear mindset but also through a progressive one. Sometimes, making a lateral transition into a different industry or with a different employer can catalyze the same level of comprehensive progress as an internal promotion. Start-ups with public trading aspirations, for example, might provide less job security and fewer benefits than a typical 9-5 organization.
Think deeply about whether your workplace difficulties exist because of a specific deadline or season, or if they are simply year-round realities. In any case, being realistic with what does and does not work in supporting your family is a helpful introspection when thinking about your career and your future.
Alternatively, no two roles are precisely alike, even if they fulfill the same general function. For example, as a consultant, you might encounter a more demanding work schedule at a multinational investment firm than at a more regional organization. Consider what a less demanding role with a similar function might financially cost you and your family. The financial trade-off can help you adjust your work-life balance to be as present as possible both at work and at home.
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is a working father who knows what it’s like to consider his family’s needs in his career. He previously worked in investment banking for J.P. Morgan and served as a Research Fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
In 2010, Parfet made a slight pivot from the world of finance when he co-founded Denali Venture Philanthropy alongside his wife, Meredith. Since 2012, he spends time working as the organization’s CEO, where he partners with a range of socially conscious entrepreneurs who share his drive to deliver innovative, positive changes to the international community.
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