Be open at work that you’re a Lead Dad – get buy-in from your boss and then let your team know what you’re doing. But know you’re going to be working at odd times in odd places to get everything done.
That’s one message from Shaun Sethna, a lawyer in Houston, Texas, who is our Lead Dad of the Week. He is a married father of two children who have frequent appointments and he is committed to being an equal partner.
“With this job I was very upfront with the company and said this is what I need to do,” said Shaun who is the general counsel at The Suite, which connects C-suite executives within different industries. “I was upfront that this is my life. I’m okay staying up as late as I need to be.”
Not every company or law firm was willing to trust that Shaun, a Columbia Law grad, would get the job done.
“I had turned down some really good jobs because it was clear it wasn’t what they wanted,” said Shaun, whose wife is also an attorney. “I’m working many more hours in this job than my last one, but my stress level has gone down. I’m much more in control of my hours.”
Early on, he was transparent with his 13-member team, but he also asked each of them what their preferred working hours were.
“We have some people spread across time zones, but as long as you get your work done who cares?” he said. “It’s not a law firm where you need to be there at a specific time. More of the work we tend to do can be done asynchronously.”
Yet what’s been good for Shaun has also been good for his company. Coworkers have taken note of how he manages his calendar with candor. “People have noticed,” he said. “Other parents have said you’re really good about it. It’s something that simple.”
He credits the company’s founders with thinking more expansively about work when they created The Suite. “I found the right place that lets me have a career that excites and fulfills me, and I get to be the dad I want to be.”
Here’s to more companies becoming the right place for Lead Dads.