Kids in the workplace


I had big D in the office for a couple of hours today. He’s doing the summer reading camp in the mornings and his mum’s away until next week.

I used to cringe when I had to bring one of the boys into work – it’s just such a grown up place. Kids can’t keep quiet, they can’t focus on a task for long, and I used to think that your personal issues were something you left at the door. Besides – I’m far, far too busy and important..

But I have to say, it feels different lately.

So, is it Facebook? This year I’ve given up on the idea that there was a “home Alex” and a “work Alex”. There’s just me I’ll add anyone I know. For the first time co-workers as well as family and friends see pictures of the boys, know what we get up to at weekends, and chuckle when Christina berates me publicly for some kind of fail. It’s a start – and I know a lot of people who would rather die than let their co-workers see pictures of their housewarming party – but I’m not sure it’s the reason.

I was reading a post by Steve Blank the other day called Epitaph for an Entrepreneur and amongst a number of family rules (helpfully, a good number have been rules in our household for a number of years anyway) he makes the obvious yet critical point that this life isn’t practice for the next one. My wife is always quick to point out that that late night or Sunday morning on the computer is time that I’ll never get back. The boys are growing up, and soon enough they won’t want to spend time with me. It’ll be girls, gangs, or some such.

Steve puts it more bluntly – every time you stay late you’re making a choice. You’re choosing work over your family, and don’t kid yourself otherwise. Do you want to be remembered as the guy who never missed a meeting or as a great father and husband? We all know a guy who did well for himself, but at the cost of one or more marriages.

So anyway, as Diarmuid said to me today “Dad, your office is cool – but man is it boring – do you just sit there all day? On your computer and stuff?” He used to come in pretty regularly to Mobyjoe but that’s a few years ago now – before we got to the States I’d been working away for about 3 years. Looking at work through the eyes of your children puts it into context – you only get one chance at this, so better make it fun. Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself (and by extension, your work and/or career) then you’re probably doing something wrong.

Well, Diarmuid’s going to be Indiana Jones when he grows up. That’s something we can all aspire to.


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