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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New job, positive impact on family

It doesn't matter if you are the father or the mother, when there is only one parent working, that puts a lot of pressure on. That means don't rock the boat at work, don't think about leaving your job, don't walk away from your cushy benefits.

Unless you're totally miserable.

We were in this situation. Father in Chief was very unhappy with his job, but since I am at home with Toddler in Chief, even thinking about changing jobs was a big stress for both of us. He was working at Yahoo and it wasn't working for our family. Long hours, stressful, unhappy Father in Chief was making everyone unhappy. Plus, it just didn't seem that families were a big priority at Yahoo. Yes, they have lots of family events during the year, like the Halloween parade, the Easter egg hunt, but his boss didn't have kids (and those people never understand), and his other boss has his kids in daycare for 10 or more hours a day while both parents work long hours.

But even more than that, his heart was with a start-up. But along with lower salaries, start-ups come with a lot or risk, i.e. the possibility of going out of business leaving the employees to wade through the help-wanted ads. But he needed to make a change.

So Father in Chief started a new job yesterday at a 12-person start up called JotSpot. It's a little closer to home and the founders have little kids. I had the luxury to interview Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer (who were also the co-founders of Excite) before Father in Chief accepted the job, and it was a great relief to hear how both of them carve time into their schedules to have time with their families. One gets up early and spent time with his daughter before work and the other is always home for bath time and bedtime.

I know that there will be long hours and lots of work at a start-up, but being at a company where the culture is currently being defined by families with kids, I feel that we are in a good place. Sure there is still a lot of financial risk, but making a positive change for our home-life is a calculated risk worth taking.

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