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."