Male CEO Leaves Job for 'Amazing' Wife, Family
Max Schireson: 'Life is about choices'
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2014 6:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Until now, the public debate of work-vs-family has focused more on female workers than male ones. So Max Schireson's decision to demote himself at a major software company and move back home with his family is turning a few heads, Jezebel reports. "Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood," wrote Schireson in a blog post. "Somehow, the same people don't ask me." His 19-month stint at the helm of MongoDB in New York City has been successful—he helped turn it "into a billion-dollar business," Fortune notes—but the time away from his wife, children, and puppy in Palo Alto, Calif., has proved just too hard. Among his reasons:

  • "I have 3 wonderful kids at home, aged 14, 12 and 9, and I love spending time with them."
  • His "amazing wife" has "an important career" as a doctor and Stanford professor. "I love her, I am forever in her debt for finding a way to keep the family working despite my crazy travel. I should not continue abusing that patience."
  • "On pace to fly 300,000 miles this year," he's missed a lot of family fun plus his son's minor surgery and the puppy being hit by a car. A turning point came when his plane made an emergency landing in Tucson and he slept through the whole thing, he tells Forbes: "In that moment, I realized, 'What am I doing?'"
  • "Will that cost me tens of millions of dollars someday?" he writes. "Maybe. Life is about choices. "
Reactions on his blog are mostly enthusiastic, but Jezebel notes that a woman couldn't do this without people getting concerned. On a positive note, Fortune says it may be a "step towards leveling the playing field for top executives, regardless of their gender." One reaction was definitely favorable—a blog comment from Schireson's daughter: "I'm glad you will be able to spend more time with us at home. yayyyyy."

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Aug 11, 2014 3:07 PM CDT
Easy choice, let the wife work and take credit for the kids. This is all the complaints about marriage the 50's housewives had. Try this when there is no income from both parties and so how long it lasts. That is the reality of America today.
Ezekiel 25:17
Aug 9, 2014 7:04 PM CDT
How big is his home, is it Al Gore, mr. huge carbon footprint, sized? Is the wife a partner at a medical clinic, a hospitalist, or medical faculty at Stanford? They don't pull in as much as a clinic partner. The difference is like $800,000 opposed to $2M. Does he have expensive habits like country club, supper club, and society memberships? Can he go down to the dealer and trade in the Navigator for an Xterra? Does he need to sell the exotics in his garage like the GT? Is there an expensive yacht in a rental slip he can sell? How about the second or third vacation home here or abroad he can sell. Does he own a share of a corporate jet he can sell? These wealthy people can really shed a lot of financial elephants when it comes down to crunches.
Aug 9, 2014 12:15 PM CDT
I'm also leaving my job to spend more time with my family. And the $20 million from my separation agreement. Hint: Our first vacation will be in the Cayman Islands.