Everyone knows that the work/life balance is a myth. When you have a full-time job, it's hard to find time for anything around it. Even simple things, like making a doctor's appointment, is a challenge. More often than not, we put our needs last in favor of our jobs. Because if we don't have a job, things will be much worse than missing your annual physical. But occasionally, there is an employer who understands that their employees are people. One such employer, Ian Sohn, posted a very thoughtful message on LinkedIn that is going viral for a good reason.
"I never need to know you’ll be back online after dinner," Sohn begins.
Many of us have had that boss who expects us to be available all the time. To the point where you find yourself running your errands and constantly stopping to answer work emails. Or calls you on your day off to ask you how to work the computer software. These type of bosses don't always realize what they're doing, but we don't want to tell them.
"I never need to know you’ll be in late because of a dentist appointment. Or that you’re leaving early for your kid’s soccer game."
Sohn admits that he is a single dad. So without a doubt, he understands the struggle parents have when it comes to work. Mothers especially feel like they must divide themselves up into a million pieces. If we focus too much on work, we're failing our children. But if we give our children too much attention, then we're not committed to our jobs. There is no pleasing anyone. And yet, we still try.
"I didn’t feel the least bit guilty, which I could tell really bothered said colleague. But it still felt horrible," he writes about a time when he couldn't go on a last minute work trip.
We've been trained as employees to ask how high when our bosses say jump. And it's really hard to remind ourselves that sometimes we just need to make ourselves a priority. We should be allowed to take the morning off for a dentist appointment. Or leave early because we have dinner plans with a friend. Or work from home for a day because we're overwhelmed by our office.
"I never want you to feel horrible for being a human being," Sohn writes. He makes an excellent point — many bosses simply don't see their employees as human. And that's one of the saddest things.
In a message shared after the initial post, Sohn makes an important edit. "maybe instead of "I never need to know ..." I should have said "You never need to apologize for ..." Same sentiment, different phrasing," he writes. His re-phrasing makes a lot more sense in actuality. Especially the last line. We shouldn't have to apologize for living our lives.
Clearly, Ian Sohn is a boss that gets it. And hopefully more will now too.