The "having it all" conversation tends to focus on women, but one tech CEO has just stepped into the debate. Max Schireson, CEO of database company MongoDB, writes in a blog post that next month he'll step down.
Schireson explains that he can't have it all, between the travel-intensive job and a happy family life, so he is choosing one over the other — specifically, the one that involves not-missing major events in his children's lives.
"I am on pace to fly 300,000 miles this year, all the normal CEO travel plus commuting between Palo Alto and New York every 2-3 weeks. During that travel, I have missed a lot of family fun, perhaps more importantly, I was not with my kids when our puppy was hit by a car or when my son had (minor and successful, and of course unexpected) emergency surgery," he writes.
Consider it the reverse of the fact that it's newsmaking when women become CEOs of major companies. It's also noteworthy when a lesser-known male CEO steps down for family reasons. Men, it turns out, can feel the same tug of war between work and family that women feel, despite the fact that highly successful women tend to be the ones who are far more often asked about how they balance office and home responsibilities. Schireson addresses this point by using his wife (a Stanford doctor and professor) as an example.
"Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood. Somehow, the same people don't ask me."
Schireson frames his decision as one that is best both for his job and his family. He describes his constant travel as "abusing [his wife's] patience" and also writes that the company "deserves a leader that can be 'all-in.'"
Not that he's quitting work altogether. After new CEO Dev Ittycheria takes the wheel, Schireson will still be around … just not as much as he used to be.
"I will be there to help (full time, but "normal full time" and not "crazy full time") in whatever areas he needs help," he writes.
Read his full (not to mention touching, indignant, and feminist) explanation of his decision here.
(Hat tip: Quartz)