Thursday, January 18, 2007
One of my associates marched into my office today to tell me his wife is pregnant, he wants to be present at the baby's birth, and he wants the two of us to work together to figure out a way to make that happen. The birth is in July. He doesn't have a date yet, but he's working on it. He said he'll work weekends all June, he'll set up a chain of command of associates underneath him to cover for him while he's gone, and he'll make sure to keep his laptop with him so he can stay in touch at the hospital. He's already checked the wireless connectivity at the hospital and put in a request for his wife to have a room on the hall where the signal is strongest, even though the obstetrician who works that hallway is somewhat less adept. He's working on some exercises with his wife so that she'll be able to hold the baby in a little longer in case he's slow getting out of the office when the day comes. And he's promised to name the baby after the firm. So I'm hopeful we'll be able to work something out and let him be there, at least for part of the birth, if not the entire thing. Kudos to this associate for being proactive about his life instead of doing nothing and then whining afterwards. That's what too many associates do in these situations. Births, funerals, accidents, etc. They don't plan ahead, they aren't willing to make any sacrifices, and then they end up blaming the firm when they can't leave when they want to. It's not always our fault. Sometimes you just need to work things out in advance, and manage your schedule better, and you can make it all happen. You can have it all. A child, and a career. Of course, if he comes to me in three years and says he wants to go through this again for child #2, it might be a different story. We're flexible to some extent, but we can't start going overboard.