This post has been updated and portions of it originally appeared in the Long Island Press
By Nancy Schuman, CSP, CMO, Lloyd Staffing
So much is always written about working mothers… stay-at-home moms… the challenges of mothers in the workplace… well, you get the idea. Fathers and work are an old story, so what’s the big deal? Well, the pandemic happened and it’s no secret it increased employment disruptions for working parents. With father’s day on Sunday, June 19th, I really got to thinking about my own Dad, his job and how it impacted my view of the world of work.
I remember going to my Dad’s job when I was a kid. He worked for Rheingold Beer and the plant was in Hicksville, New York. I’m sure some Long Island baby boomers will remember it, or maybe they can still picture the big bright yellow trucks emblazoned with the distinct logo. My father drove one of those trucks and delivered cases of beer to restaurants, delis and grocery stores on Long Island. I knew what my father did, but I remember as a kid, thinking some of my friend’s fathers had mysterious sounding jobs like Actuary, Aerospace Analyst or Quality Control Engineer.
When I was growing up in 1960’s/70’s suburbia, fathers were the uncontested breadwinners, but times have changed significantly since then, with fathers nearly tripling the time spent with their kids since 1965 according to the Pew Research Center. Today, the U.S. Census reports there are 72 million fathers in the U.S. with 2 million single fathers (no spouse or partner) with children under 18 years of age living with them; 7 million fathers are primary caregivers.
THE PANDEMIC’S IMPACT
When the pandemic happened all of our lives shifted and we made the move to working from home – both Moms and Dads. Surprisingly, many fathers discovered there were major upsides to this extra time spent in their home – marriages became a little more equitable and relationships with their kids grew stronger. This has fueled the demand for remote options to continue and for new hires who will only consider flexible work options. According to Protocol.com, a survey found a whopping 77% of men with children at home reported they were more productive while working at home. 68% said that working remote had affected their careers positively (working moms were lower at 57%).
In an excellent post found on BestColleges.com titled “A New Era of Working Dads” – author Meg Embry writes that men are now looking for jobs that allow them to prioritize their family going forward. Embry reports that many dads are unwilling to go back to the old way of working.
Instead, they want:
- Meaningful work
- Freedom to step back
- Permission to put work second
- Paternity leave
- Remote work options
Many of the changes forged during the pandemic may continue to serve as important considerations to support fathers in their co-parenting or single parenting responsibilities as we move forward. Employers report they are now thinking about or have put in place such strategies as:
- Continued hybrid work options
- Flexible hours/work schedules
- Dependent care flexible spending account (FSAs)
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for new parents, single dads, etc.
- Paid sick leave
- Paternity leave
LIFE’S TOO SHORT
I read some time ago that the Fatherhood Institute reported that 48% of fathers said they had missed a significant event in their child’s life due to work. My father died when I was in my early teens, which I guess is why I have a very clear memory of him in his grey work uniform standing in the back of the school lawn during my sixth grade graduation exercise. That he was even there means the world to me.
He was gone from my life before I ever had a real part-time or full-time job, or a chance to gain his advice on choosing a career. I do know that from simply listening and watching, I learned some good lessons from him in the short time we had together (and from my Mom, too.) – Like the importance of a strong work ethic, honesty in business, doing your best on the job, and having a mutual respect between employer and employee.
Kids see the world of work through their parents’ eyes and that eventually impacts their own choices and their grown-up work/life balance in some way.
I consider myself lucky – I had two good role models. But for today, with #FathersDay on the horizon this Sunday, I just wanted to say, Thanks Dad, wish you were here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy Schuman, CSP is the Chief Marketing Officer for LLoyd Staffing. A recruitment and career specialist, Nancy has 42 years in the staffing industry 26 of them with LLoyd. She is an advocate for career education and has advised thousands of candidates on their resumes and job searches while serving as the Careers columnist for a large weekly Long Island newspaper and writing 11 popular books for job seekers and business professionals. You can find her Author’s page and books on Amazon.