“ ‘Work-life balance’ is one of these terms that tends to get overused,” says Rob Lanoue, a partner with Deloitte’s consulting group in Toronto. “It’s ‘balanced/unbalanced,’ ” chips in colleague Andrew Hamer, a senior consultant.
They, along with Jonathan Magder, 35, are eating breakfast across the street from their office and discussing how they juggle their careers and families. You might call them “Alpha Dads,” guys who are as serious about their parenting as they are about making partner. Together, they run a group called Deloitte Dads, which aims to help working fathers.
Lanoue has a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old and works one day a week out of his basement office at home. “Between 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., I’m available by e-mail. If there’s anything I have to review, it’s well into the evening.” In other words: It’ll get done, but on his time.
Hamer has a 2-year-old and a 12-week-old. “For me,” he says, “flexibility is more about being able to take part in morning routines and not having to worry about the commute.” Magder tries to be home at least two or three times a week for dinner and bedtime. They sound in many ways like typical MBA guys, only they’re applying the principles of efficient management to the task of parenting.
A March 2013 Pew Research study found that 50 percent of working fathers and 56 percent of working mothers found it “very” or “somewhat” difficult to balance work and family. Men spend three times as much time with their children as their grandfathers did. Yet most employers haven’t acknowledged this shift.
If this uprising has a guru-in-waiting, it’s Warren Farrell, a consultant and author of seven books, including The Myth of Male Power. Never mind that men have a monopoly over nearly every powerful institution in the world, Farrell believes they are prisoners of all that money and power they spend their lives amassing.
For now, the Deloitte Dads are improvising a more daddy-friendly future in their own way. The day before we had a group phone call scheduled, Andrew Hamer sent an e-mail: “I decided to work from home this morning so I could take my toddler to day care and help my wife with our newborn. May I suggest a conference call? Dial-in information below.”
Excerpted from Alpha Dads: Men Get Serious About Work-Life Balance, Sheelah Kolhatkar, BusinessWeek, May 30, 2013.