Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Juggling Boardrooms & Babysitting

I don’t want to be one of those guys who bores everyone about how great his kids are. But Luke Johnson observed in his FT column today that the favourite talk among 21st century entrepreneurs is their family.

“This is the first generation of New Man executives, whose chief hobbies are not golf and drinking but their children. These business leaders can not only close a sale or raise venture capital but they can also change a nappy, baby-sit and talk knowledgably about schools and exams. The old-fashioned boss delegated all child-rearing to women: the wife or perhaps the nanny. He was too busy building a fortune and, in the evenings, socialising with work clients or bankers. But, nowadays, I'm not alone in regularly slipping out of the office early to be home in time for the children's bath and a bedtime story”

I am not sure how true his statement is that we’d all rather be spending time with our kids, than drink beer and play golf (many of us are aspiring to do all three – and why not?) but certainly I have always tried to juggle work and family so that all of us benefit from that flexibility. As Johnson says, that is easy for the generation of workers who have become Dads in their late 30s and 40s. If I was in my twenties, I think that lager after work might be more tempting than rushing home for kids’ bath-time. Now I try and do both (not literally)….

But whatever the practicalities of returning home for bath and bedtime, Johnson is right that becoming a father has 'a healthy and humanising impact, putting all the stress...into perspective'.

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