Friday, November 7, 2008

The Second Shift

If you have a job and kids -- and want to spend time with them -- the rhythm of the workweek can present a challenge. Many professionals put in 12-hour days from, say, 7:30AM to 7:30PM. Unfortunately, this almost precisely overlaps with the hours small children are awake! What do you do?

I am never "done" with work at 5pm, but what I'm trying to do in my journey to becoming a Core Competency Mom is to consciously stop working around then. I then devote my attention to Jasper for the next few hours. Then, around 8pm when he goes to bed, I start working again. I can usually get in another 2 hours of work, giving me closer to an 11 hour day. Add in another 5 hours on the weekend, and you can still put in a near 60 hour week while still spending a reasonable amount of time with the kids.

I am also finding that the hours of 8-11pm are good for scheduling "date night" or events with friends. The sitter has an easy time of it (she shows up after the baby is in bed) and Jasper never knows the difference.

My guess is that more family friendly offices understand this second shift concept. No one schedules meetings that end after 5pm, but people do schedule phone calls and answer emails from 8pm to 10pm. If you're interviewing for a job, though, and see that people regularly schedule meetings from, say, 3pm to 7pm -- you should run!

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