Male CEO Gets Radical, Opts for Healthy Work-Life Balance
Max Schireson. Photo by Facebook/Max Schireson
Citing details of how his high-powered career has kept him frustratingly away from his three children, the CEO of a Silicon Valley software company has written a rare male-perspective blog post about his decision to lean out. “Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have a meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so,” wrote Max Schireson, the now-former CEO of the billion-dollar firm MongoDB, in “Why I Am Leaving the Best Job I Ever Had,”a post that’s now on its way to going viral. “At first, it seemed like a hard choice, but the more I have sat with the choice the more certain I am that it is the right choice.”
Schireson, whose kids are 9, 12, and 14, and whose “brilliant, beautiful” wife is a doctor and a professor at Stanford University, writes that he loves skiing, swimming, cooking, watching sports games, and playing backgammon with the family. But he also laments that he is “on pace to fly 300,000 miles this year,” and that, because of his job’s demands, he’s missed important life moments — from “family fun” to the time their puppy was hit by a car (and survived, but still). Schireson will stay on with the company as vice chairman.
“Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO,” Schireson writes. “The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.”
It’s true that with the perspectives of Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter and every woman in between, men’s voices have been a bit lost in the whole work-life balance discussion. But Schireson’s is one that shows they’re not so immune to the pains of missing out on home life after all. “Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood,” he writes. “Somehow, the same people don’t ask me.”