Life as a Working Dad – A Story of Guilt, Stress and Ultimate Reward

I don’t want to be an involved dad.  Is that shocking to hear?  Before you go calling me a deadbeat or pitying my kids, let me explain.  I work in a highly tech-focused industry during the most connected time in history.  I have Facetime, Facebook, email, Twitter, Linkedin, Skype, IM, text and believe it or not, I even remember how to pick up a pen and write a letter.  I can be an involved dad from any corner of the globe at any time of the day or night.

I want to be a present dad.

My father started his own business when I was very young.  I have always been exceedingly proud of him, but the truth is that he wasn’t around.  He wasn’t neglectful, but he had a business to grow to support my brother and I.  I learned many lessons from my Pop, but the one I took with me throughout my life is that I not only want to be there for my kids emotionally, but I want to be with them as someone they can come to, a shoulder to cry on, a goofy buddy and mentor in life – someone they know will always come home at night.

Somewhere along the line, dad’s had to start making a decision between being present and being professionally successful.  I’m proud to be part of an outspoken, yet sometimes overlooked generation of dads who believe it’s possible to have both.

We hear so much about working mother’s guilt, but little about the impact on dads who often have to choose between a flourishing career and the ability to be an ever-present part of his kid’s life.  I have been a dad for over four years now and I still experience this guilt and stress on a daily basis.  Guilt over having to miss events and family time and stress that I won’t be able to support my family if I am not working.  But I’m one of the lucky ones.  I found a home within my agency with people who not only understand where my priorities are, but provide me the flexibility that I need to be a present dad.


In April of this year, I was given two amazing gifts.  The first being the birth of my daughter and the second was 3-weeks of paternity leave, an unheard of benefit in the United States.  These three weeks not only gave me the chance to be home and help my wife through the rough first few weeks, but it afforded me the chance to be there for my son and help him through a life-altering transition into big brother.  I could never thank Zeno Group enough.

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