Why CEOs Should Be Asked the Balance Question


Work BalanceSusan Wojcicki leads YouTube, a multi-billion dollar Google subsidiary. That perch gives her insight into many things: the future of media, the nature of modern fame, how to manage high-performing employees.

But Wojcicki is also expecting her fifth child any day. So in her recent interview with Maria Shriver from NBC, guess what got emphasized? We learned that Wojcicki is home for dinner every night, and while YouTube offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, she?s not sure how long she?ll take.

In other words, the mom part trumps the CEO part. For a woman, having 5 kids and a job seems like such a crazy undertaking that it?s the combining of the two that we want to hear about, more than the (huge) nature of the job itself.

It?s a bizarre phenomenon, if you think about it. Plenty of male leaders have big families. So why is Wojcicki being asked about family dinner? Is there sexism at work?

Well, yes, but it?s also fascinating. I find it so fascinating that I spend my life writing about this topic. I?m intrigued by this undeniable fact: Successful, productive people have the exact same 24 hours in a day as the rest of us. Whatever advantages they have, they still need to put in long hours at work and they still, generally, want to see their families.

Indeed, how these puzzle pieces fit is so intriguing a topic that, even though the how-do-you-balance question is rooted in assumptions about what women should care about, people are starting to ask male leaders these questions too. Given what that implies about our evolving thoughts on family life, that?s probably a good thing.

Read More at Fortune.