Juggling the hours in tech
Successful people work hard. I am not telling you something you don’t know. The data is out there. Most of them work hard because they are competitive, focused, driven and they actually enjoy it.
The majority of the people that I spend my days with work long hours. Their life is blurred between their business life and their personal life. They would not choose to work any other way. It is part of their DNA. Obviously not everyone works like that. I had this conversation with a friend the other night. He doesn’t really like starting his day until 11 and there is a point of the year where he needs to really work hard to get business done. It is about a 4 month sprint of working hard from 11-6/7pm. He is fascinated that I would get up so early and work so hard every day. He couldn’t do it nor would he want to. Most people I know who are in the midst of building their businesses could not even conceive working like that.
Juggling the hours of each day goes under the life balance category. It is particularly hard for parents. As our careers are taking off, it is also the time when many begin their families. Not easy. I know because we started our family when I was 29 although many start later and many start earlier. For all the women and men that I work with who are working 24/7 and are thinking about children I tell them all the same thing. Have children now, do not wait. It is not about the entrance strategy it is about the exit strategy. You don’t want to be 65 when your first kid goes off to college. Speaking founders language seems to work. Every time I have said that I see the light go on in their head. I have watched more than a handful have children and have figured it out. Women who ran farms hundreds of years ago have babies in the morning and churned butter in the afternoon. Different times, different content but essentially the same thing.
It is a topic I think about a lot. Then when I read the article in the NYX about Jack Dorsey’s juggling skills this topic has been sitting in the my head. Jack was moderating a panel of women where they were discussing parenting. Someone asked Jack how he was able to achieve work-life balance and he responded with “Uh, I don’t have a family.” Jack works seriously hard and he is also insanely smart and can concentrate all of his energies to the business at hand when the only personal responsibility is to himself. Not to easy for parents and whether we like it or not, mostly women.
As much as the millennial generation is trying to share in the parenting responsibilities it is still a work in progress. What needs to be resolved is how do companies for this generation of super driven, hard driving, competitive people who also have families and a personal life create workplaces that support them. We are living in a time when every app is trying to make our lives easier and we can just start with ecommerce. What will it take for companies to change the workplace too so that women don’t roll out at one point and never return.