Family First

Michelle-christians-Wedding-11-M (3)
Brother and Son

One of the most important things to me when deciding who I wanted to work for was the support of a strong work life balance. My desire for this balance not only stems from my hopes of being a father in the future, but also for being a son and grandson in the present. When I enter the work force, I won’t be a husband or a father. However, I am a brother of two, son of two, grandson of four, and great-grandson of one. I began networking my freshman year with the goal of landing a job in the greater Houston area after graduation. 90% of my extended family lives in Houston, including both sets of my grandparents. For me, flying back to Houston for the holidays wasn’t enough. I have been raised to put my family first in all situations, and there was no better way to do that than to return to my hometown. Next year, I’ll be working full-time in Houston Monday thru Friday and being a full-time family member Sunday thru Saturday. As Anand Iyer suggested, I have established my work life balance early and I believe it will benefit the company I am working for because I will be much happier and more productive.

I am not a father yet, but I know that my passion for family will not dissipate when I have my own; in fact, I expect it to intensify. For this reason, I would have been foolish to work for a company that has a reputation for expecting employees to work overly demanding hours. I want to “have it all”, but what does that even mean? For me, having it all includes a significant role in my immediate and extended family as well as a fulfilling occupation. I disagree with Rebecca Traister who says we should remove the phrase “have it all” from our lexicon. I think we just need to change our perspective of what having it all means. The point of view that having to make sacrifices in order to raise a child jeopardizes a woman’s ability to “have it all” bewilders me. Isn’t bringing a new life into this world having it all? There are many couples who struggle to conceive children of their own, yet we are discussing the burden of creating life.

Without a doubt, having a child and starting a family requires time and sacrifice that should be anticipated. It is unfortunate that women have to make more work related sacrifices in order to nurture a newborn child, but we can’t make an amendment to biology. I don’t think the issue of mothers being less likely to advance in their career is related to men trying to limit women (I am not denying this occurs sometimes). From the viewpoint of a man who intends to be a very active father, it kind of stinks that I won’t be able to stay at home and help nurture my child during those first few months. I will probably have to return to work in order to financially support my family. I think companies, especially in the tech industry, are making strides towards making parenthood more of a priority by adding/extending paternity and maternity leaves.

I believe companies have an obligation to support their employees lives. Robots do not need work life balance to achieve mamixum productivity – humans do. The article reflecting on the nature of Amazon’s workplace was rather disheartening. I am relieved to say I will be joining a company that not only supports work life balance, but emphasizes the need for it to exist. This will go a long way in my development as a programmer, manager, and executive. If I ever have to sacrifice my devotion to family during the course of my career, then I will reevaluate the position I have obtained. I hope that the importance of family never gets drowned out in the capitalistic pursuit of high profit margins, market share, and rising stock value.

ZJL

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