Being a Father Makes You Better at Your Job

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About Scott Behson

Scott Behson is a Professor of Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a busy involved dad, and an overall grateful guy. He runs the www.FathersWorkandFamily.com blog dedicated to helping fathers better balance work and family and encouraging more supportive workplaces, and also writes for Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, and, most recently, Time. He lives in Nyack, NY with his wife, Amy, and son, Nick. Contact him @ScottBehson on twitter.

Comments

  1. this fella says:

    breeder fluff … weak agit-prop

  2. wellokaythen says:

    Fatherhood can be a great experience for acquiring life skills. It can help prepare you for other challenges in your life. I’ve never really doubted that.

    For me the larger question has always been whether it’s the BEST way to acquire those skills. It’s certainly not the only way to get those skills. Do parents make better employees than non-parents? I’ve heard many parents answer in the affirmative, but I’m not necessarily convinced that is true.

    I’d be curious to see if there are any polls of childfree people about how being childfree/childless has helped them in their careers. I can only imagine having more time available could help one’s career immeasurably. I suspect that one would find similar conclusions among people when you ask them about anything that’s important to them.

    How much has [this thing you’ve spent a lot of time doing] made your life better? Fill in the blank with many different topics (being a dog owner, doing yoga, running a marathon, going to church, baking cookies) and you’ll probably find comparable numbers – no doubt most dog owners would say that it has made them better people.

    My concern is that there may be many employers out there (generally the ones who are parents themselves) who assume that people with children make better employees and will therefore be more likely to discriminate on the basis of family status.

    • this fella says:

      One can only assume part of the allure to employers would be that the employee has dependents & perhaps more tied to their jobs than their non-parent counterparts

      • wellokaythen says:

        That makes sense, I suppose, if you think of parenting as something that makes it less likely for you to pick up and move. That’s true. Then again, the flipside is you may wind up with an employee who feels completely trapped in his life and depressed about his lack of choices. There is a certain dependability in someone who, for example, needs his job in order to keep health benefits for his kids. But, is that really a good motivation for the worker to go the extra mile, or is it just incentive to put in the minimum hours?

        It would depend on what you are looking for in an employee, I suppose. In some jobs, if you have experience dealing with crying infants you are well-suited for working with some of your fellow employees. Spotting when your boss has missed his nap could come in real handy.

        And, of course, this rootedness would be a disadvantage if the job called for lots of traveling or the possibility of transferring to a different branch of the company on the other side of the country.

  3. Hi All-

    I look forward to the discussion on my article. Let me just head off a few criticisms at the pass…

    1. You do not NEED to be a father to learn how to better handle interpersonal relationships at work. I happened to find it extremely helpful, as did those surveyed by Boston College. But one size does NOT fit all
    2. I’m sure much of what I write here applied equally to women. This is a men’s magazine, and my blog is focused on fathers’ work-family issues, so that’s why it is slanted towards men.

    Thanks for reading and for contributing to the discussion!

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