with Avi Spivack
Hi, I'm Avi, and I try to put the work and the dad together, with mild success. This is all about trying to give you a view from what it looks like on the dad-man's side of the world, and I hope you find my ruminations humorous because I try not to take myself too seriously.
I recently hired a new guy on the team.
Everyone liked him in the interviews: he was affable, well-spoken, honest about what he’d done and what he didn’t know, and we closed the deal and brought him on.
I was quite confident he would grow into the role we needed, and two months in, he is well on his way to doing so.
But initially, and still, I was skeptical for only one reason: when he interviewed, his wife was due at any day with their second child. And I knew that given our intense work environment - especially in the first few months (as I knew firsthand) - it would be a challenge: both for him to stay awake and pull the hours and for me to train him.
(Yup, look at me: I live in a glass house and I am throwing stones.)
But I hired him because I was confident that he and I would work something out - man to man, father to father, professional to professional.
And we have, so far, with some challenges.
You see, he is - like me - a working father who also tries to be present at home, and therein lies the challenge.
As I have written before, I work with a number of fathers, but almost of all of them have wives who don’t work, which means they are mostly free to just, well, work - and if they can get home to be with the kids, that is great. My new guy’s wife is not currently working, but she is planning to and always has.
So, how did it go, you ask?
Honestly, I started out with a big bucket of empathy and understanding and told him that he would be able to work from home soon and leave early and la dee da…
But as the work piled up and he seemed to be always tired, I will admit, I grew frustrated. There was a TON of work to do, and if he couldn’t get it done, it was left to me to cover for him. No good.
So we talked about expectations - what I needed from him, what he wanted to do, and what his wife was demanding of him (and this was the most pressing need).
And gradually we seemed to reach a place where everyone was getting what they needed, perhaps.
He is now putting in more hours, he is taking more ownership, and he says that his wife is more understanding…but the whole situation has left me in an odd and new place - confronted, as a manager, with the same decisions that my own managers have had, and it has shown me just how tricky it can be to manage a working parent (and specifically, one who is doggedly sleep deprived - I think we all know that feeling all too well).
Let me know your experience here - either as a manager or the managed, good or nightmarish, we want to know!
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