It is hard to overestimate the importance of a job and work environment that are family friendly. With national divorce rates hovering as high as 50%, marriages need all the help they can get. In a tight job market, you might not have much choice, but, if you do have a choice, don’t underestimate the importance of family friendly jobs and family friendly company policies.
Even if you currently are single, someday you might be married. As a single person, you might be willing to endure 60-80 hour work weeks, overnight and weekend travel, and job relocations. Someday, however, as a married person, you, your spouse, and children might feel differently. Quality family time cannot be measured with a stopwatch.
Whether a job and company will be family friendly or not can depend to some extent on the preferences of you and your spouse. Will the two of you feel all right about being expected to participate in company functions like dinners, parties, and team sports?
Higher paying, competitive jobs tend to be less family friendly. While high salaried jobs can be attractive, remember that divorce, child support, and emotional turmoil can be the result of a job that is too demanding. Furthermore, the emotional turmoil of a divorce can negatively affect your job performance.
Certain types of organizations tend to be more family friendly. Examples are large, public sector organizations with unions and Human Resource Departments.
There are indicators that a company might not be family friendly. The more indicators a company exhibits, the more likely it is not to be family friendly. For example, do the top company executives:
-expect extensive committee work in addition to your already heavy responsibilities?
-expect frequent contact with you via cell phone and computer conferences at home, after normal working hours?
-call its employees “human capital?”
– use slogans like, “no pain, no gain?”
-justify questionable personnel policies as “business decisions?”
-expect lockstep conformity and describe those who submit to it as “team players?”
After a steep learning curve, some higher level jobs become less demanding. Also, the recession has forced many companies to keep their staffs leaner than normal. While considering these factors, there still will be some jobs and companies that are more family friendly than other jobs and companies. Give strong consideration to the jobs and companies that are the most family friendly.
If you have had experiences with companies that are family friendly or not family friendly, please comment anonymously on your experiences below.