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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fathers weigh in on work/life role models

The majority of fathers told researchers they would give up pay for work/life balance. So, why don't they just do it? Anchor Cynthia Demos asked me that question on my TV appearance this morning. My answer: fear. A lot of men don't want to rock the boat at work.

I've been thinking a lot about a comment by Rebeldad blogger Brian Reid. He's a proponent of working fathers using the family-friendly policies that exist at their companies: "There's a gulf between corporate policy and what men feel they can take advantage of. Leading by example sounds uninspiring but breaking down traditional roles has an impact."

Reid took paternity leave seven years ago, and believes he was the first at his company to do it. Unfortunately, men still hesitate to do what Reid did. But I do think some men are taking the lead. My Miami Herald article today gives some examples. The article also is posted on

In Miami, senior lawyer Bill Walker, knows his viewpoint isn't popular with his partners at White & Case. Yet, he still tries to get young fathers at his law firm to find new role models. "There are plenty of young dads here until all hours and weekends. They are modeling the money behavior of the guy down the hall instead of other guy down the hall who is not working as hard, maybe not making as much money, but spending more time with his kids."

Walker gave me an honest look at why an Adecco survey found more than half of men think their companies should do more to help with work/life balance. "We interviewed someone yesterday, an experienced lawyer, looking to relocate. For about five minutes we discussed whether coming here allow would allow him to maintain, work/home balance he wants to achieve. I told him I don't know. "

Do you think working fathers are doing enough to be role models for others? Is the fear of using work/life programs justified?


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