Should Your Family Fire You?

This is going to be controversial, but here goes—you’re not that busy.

I hear the phrase “if I can find the time” a lot. But the idea that time is going to miraculously appear is a fallacy. You have to be intentional about your time. Nowhere is this more important than in the planning of vacation time. Especially given Americans are using a week less of their earned time off than they were just 15 years ago.

I understand it’s difficult to plan time off. In my household, we’ve got two kids, two careers, and too much on the calendar. But after my wakeup call about the moments I was missing in my children’s lives, I saw how important it was to make the time I always thought I could never find. And if I needed any more evidence, our study that focused on the relationships we have with our kids reinforced why taking vacation time to be with them matters so much (and why how much you spend matters so little).

As a parent, the most alarming takeaway was the idea that we are actively creating the next generation of work martyrs. Six in seven kids say we parents bring our work stress home. Three-quarters of kids say we are unable to disconnect from the office when we are home. We are reinforcing that this disengaged behavior isn’t only acceptable, it’s the norm.

I don’t need to tell you that spending time with your family is important. But I will tell you that, despite the importance of family, work is a more powerful influencer on how we spend time. It made me wonder what would happen if we received performance reviews at home the way we do at work.

Even worse, if we did get reviewed at home, would our families have grounds to fire us?

Drawing on MIT’s performance review, I created the evaluation below to see just that. It sparked such a critical conversation in my home about the things that we rarely give voice to. I hope you find it just as useful, and that it helps start a conversation in your own household.


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