I left happy hour today soon after another woman left. She excused herself from the event early saying that her daughter was waiting for her. When she said that I thought of Peyton and whether I should be home with her. As an intern I had to stay awhile and be social…network, network, network to get that job! But, this made me think about how different the lives of working parents are from their childless coworkers, especially on Wall Street.
People in my line of work (finance) are pretty much social for a living. You work on teams and are communicating with clients frequently. Meetings/get-togethers happen during work, after work, and even on the weekends. There are happy hours, lunches, coffee breaks, sporting events, volunteer events..pretty much anything can be turned into work. And some people dedicate 14+ hours a day 6 days a week to work; but, that’s just not practical for the working parent, at least not for the one who would like to spend time with their child(ren).
So, does that mean that you sacrifice work for family time, realizing that it is a crucial part of your job to socialize and be liked by others? That also doesn’t sound right.
My advice would be to when it comes to after hours events to go out with coworkers and be social when you can; but, always saying no because of family obligations doesn’t allow people to get to know you, which doesn’t allow people to learn you enough to trust you. Always, always be an actively participating part of the team while you are at work. Relationships are everything in the workplace. Taking the time to create good and deep relationships with people can take you very far.
Now, if your job requires you to spend 28 hours a day at the office either you’re in the wrong professional/position or you should speak with your boss about working a flexible schedule. You don’t ever want to come to the point where you know more about your job than you do your kids. Work is necessary and so is QT with the kids. As long as you’re flexible and are willing to devote proper time to each area of your life it will all be ok!
Questions or comments? Let me know