How a Dad in Accounting Finds Work-Life Balance

A Harvard Business School survey of executives has been generating some interesting discussions about whether the work-life balance issue is a gender-specific concern, so for Father’s Day I wanted to talk to a working dad about how he juggles his career and his children.

Brian Green of Lafayette, Calif., is Assistant Controller for Robert Half. He’s been with the consulting and staffing services company for 10 years and has a 13-year-old daughter who plays the violin and soccer and a 9-year-old son who just won a Little League championship.

Since in accounting so many deadlines are predictable on a monthly, annual and quarterly basis, Green is able to have the job flexibility to, for example, occasionally leave work early to help coach his son’s baseball team.

And thanks to technology, checking back in to catch up with work after a family activity is easy.

“We’re blessed with technology, in a way, now,” Green said. “I don’t know how my dad would have done it. You can pretty much be connected (wherever you are) and get back online in the evening and catch up on work and emails.”

Green feels fortunate to have a boss who believes family comes first. That helps the staff know it’s OK to ask for some flexibility.

Not all dads on his son’s team have that, Green has noticed.

“A lot of dads discuss how it’s difficult to be there and be part of helping out with the team. Most wish they could spend more time. It’s tough.”

Good planning and communication are important when it comes to creating balance between family and work, Green said.

“Keep your manager and staff up to date well in advance so there aren’t any surprises,” he said. “Make sure there’s good communication. And organization is key. You can find a way to make it work.”

While it sounds like Green has a healthy work-life balance, he said there’s always going to be some guilt. He says he feels guilty when he’s not at work and guilty if he’s not with the kids – something working moms of course experience too - lending credence to the idea that work-life balance isn’t just a women’s issue.

In the end, Green said, he realizes that there are just a handful of years where he’ll have the opportunity to be so closely involved in his children’s activities.

“I get the balancing act half right most of the time. If you’re going to make someone happy and it’s your kids then that’s not a bad thing.”

Robert Half Management Resources research has found many finance professionals choose to take on consulting work because it offers greater flexibility. What steps do you take to maintain work-life balance?

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Photo courtesy of Brian Green