“Virtually every working dad I know struggles with balancing the time and effort required to be a good financial provider with the time and effort needed to be a present, involved, loving father.”
– Scott Behson, Working Dad’s Survival Guide
I love great people and great books. So when a great friend of mine writes a great book about a topic I’m over the moon passionate about, it’s a win-win-win.
Scott is a professor at Farleigh Dickinson University and a national expert on work and family issues who gets invited to fancy White House summits to talk about fatherhood, work, and family. But most important, Scott is a working father — someone who knows all too well what it’s like to constantly feel torn between the need to provide financially for your family while being a present and loving dad.
Books about motherhood and leaning in and having it all are pretty common, and with good reason. Moms — both of the working variety and those who stay at home — are worthy subjects for books and discussions. However, dads have been largely left out of the equation. Especially working fathers, who don’t have the novelty factor of stay-at-home dads.
Scott’s book, The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home, comes out on June 9. And you should buy it. I don’t say that because I’ve known Scott for years, I say it because I’ve read it and can say with certainty that is a well-researched, sourced, and entertaining book that tackles a topic of immense importance. Even the parts that don’t quote me.
And speaking of quotes, here are some of my favorites from the book.
“There is a strange “wall of silence” that has built up over the issue of involved fathers who work hard to juggle work and family demands. So, if you have ever felt that all your efforts in attaining career success while also making the time to be an involved dad have been overlooked, you, my friend, are not alone.”
Step 1 – know you’re not alone. This is more true than you can possibly know, and Scott realizes that. Once you comprehend the fact that you’re not enduring this struggle all by your lonesome, Scott takes you by the hand and helps you figure out where to go from there.
“It’s time that we recognized that, in order to succeed at work and at home, we can’t just rely on society or workplaces to change. We need to recognize the important challenge we face, and do what we can both to gather support and to act more in accordance with our priorities. I believe that we can achieve success in our careers while also being the involved, loving dads we always wanted to be.”
Don’t get me wrong, the deck is stacked against working dads who want more time with family. But be that as it may, that doesn’t mean we should just do nothing and suffer in silence. We need to speak up and start having the difficult conversations required to bring about change.
“We need to stop seeing work and family as ‘either-or.’ Time for work and time for family are both very important components of a full, meaningful life, and there’s more to life, too. If we don’t reflexively see them as opposing forces, we may come to understand that both can enhance the other in helping to build a balanced life.”
This is one of the most important points in Scott’s book. I don’t believe there is any such thing as work/life balance. I think it has become a blend. With email and messaging capabilities, we are always connected and work and family time are no longer segmented. We need to learn to operate within the new normal.
“We need to live in the world as it is, but we should not give up trying to make things better. If our generation of busy involved dads doesn’t start making change happen, more dads will struggle seemingly alone.”
Precisely. If we don’t advocate for ourselves, no one else is going to. So let’s start.
“Society sends many repeated signals, especially to men, that MORE success, MORE money and MORE power are the keys to being seen as a success, a man in full. Most of us have been receiving this signal for virtually our whole lives. It takes a strong sense of self to turn away from more. Swimming against the tide isn’t easy, but it might just be worth it.”
This is the truest thing I have ever known. And once I came to realize my career is important, but never as important as my family, everything fell into place. Getting demoted at work might be unpleasant, but being demoted as a dad is downright unacceptable.
Also, I have not been compensated in any way for this review. In fact, Scott is a New York Jets fan. So think about how much I, as a New England Patriots fan, must like this book in order to promote it on my site!