This Sunday is Father’s Day – so to honour that occasion, we’ve gathered reflections on fatherhood by some of the executive management team at Adlib.
Brian Maguire, our VP, Enterprise Sales & Marketing (right), has chosen a different work/life balance after a decades-long career where much of it included long hours and long commutes.
His drive to work is now 6 minutes; in the past, he had a job across the country from his young family. “The work was interesting,” says Brian, “and my wife used to have a travelling job earlier in her career, so she got that. But she certainly appreciates that I can help out with family and domestic life more now.”
Adlib’s Chief Software Architect, Jean Ouellette (right), says “I would forfeit many things to minimize my commute to work since this consumes time you can otherwise spend with family. And commuting increases your risk of accidents, not to mention the environmental impact. I have a friend who has had two car accidents in the past six weeks and half on the long commute to work.”
A typical work day for Brian sees him at the breakfast table with his kids, ages 13 and 15, still with time to get to work for 7:30. “Being close also means I can get to their soccer games, take them to guitar, their piano lessons, and play golf with my son twice a week.”
Jean also makes a point of having breakfast with his kids, aged 12 and 15, on most days. He says he makes time for this by getting up early to get work done while the house is quiet. And Jean often works through lunch so he can avoid taking work home at the end of the day. “We try to have dinner all together, help with school work, have family time… Then, If necessary, I work when everyone is in bed.”
Jean admits that “the work/life balance is always a challenge; I value my family time very much – it is my priority. Nevertheless, it is easy to lose track of that when you also enjoy your work.”
Being one of the founders of Adlib Software, Jean is particularly sensitive to getting the family/work balance right for their workforce. The company has summer hours, starting in early June, giving staff the choice to leave work early on Fridays. “We believe in flex hours,” says Jean. “I hesitate to ask my employees to work beyond regular hours,”
On the ‘Circle of Life’
Scott Mackey (right), our Director, Product Management, reflects that Father’s Day comes and goes quickly like so many other days of ‘celebration’. “It always seems to bring into sharp focus the speed with which life passes us by. When we’re young we think of Father’s Day in a single direction – about our own fathers,” Scott observes. “It’s more about a quick thank you and simple demonstrations of appreciation.”
He continues: “Those demonstrations are golden – how many of the fathers in your office have a hand-made, slightly misshapen Father’s day gift on prominent display? I have at least two such priceless artifacts on my desk,” says Scott, the father of a 15-year-old and 10-year-old.
“But when you have a young family of your own, it suddenly becomes a bi-directional event with a new dad and two grandfathers to share in the celebration. Grandad sometimes gets the supporting role treatment, but you’ll never hear him complain. Watch his eyes when the grandkids enter the room. Richest man in the world.”
On a sadder note, Scott adds, “hospital visits shift from places of joy where fathers go to see their newborn children, to places of worry where we go to visit fathers who have fallen ill. My own father is in hospital now, but thankfully he’s now recovering quickly. What a great Father’s Day gift!”
Brian thinks it is “much, much easier for a man to balance career and parenthood than for a woman; kids instinctively expect all the nurturing to come from the mother. It’s OK for the father to be swamped by work and let family obligations suffer; but it’s not that way for the mother. The father won’t notice; but the mother will be thinking about 65 things about the kids.”
Jean acknowledges, “I’m lucky in that my wife has chosen to either work part-time or stay home since we’ve had kids, and this simplifies our life quite a bit.”
Advice to Dads
Brian has this advice to men in management: “Coaching kids in sports is a good activity for managers; it develops your skills in building teamwork and motivation in your employees. Seeing the effect of one person’s attitude on the whole team is always interesting.”
Jean recommends that working fathers “respect the family time, and don’t let the technology, the connectivity, compromise that. It’s easy to let it happen.”
Scott says, “I hope you have been able to achieve that ideal life/work balance as you scream down the one-way highway of time.”
From all of us at Adlib, we wish you a Happy Father’s Day – whether you are a father, stepdad or grandpa!