Sign up FAST! Login

Silicon Valley Is Growing Up, Giving Parents a Break

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, Zuck!, Corporate Diversity

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Will we really get a more balanced life? "Silicon Valley is beginning to admit it isn’t just for young people anymore.

In an informal poll last month by CB Insights, a private company data firm, 63 percent of the 4,040 respondents — mostly start-up founders who are also parents — said they struggled with balancing their start-up and parental duties daily or all the time. Only 10 percent said they never did."

Often people end up skimping on themselves.

“Being a tech founder is all-consuming; you can never really turn off,” said Clara Shih, founder and chief executive of Hearsay Social, who recently had her first child with her husband, Daniel Chao, also a tech founder and chief executive, of Halo Neuroscience. “You can’t skimp on your family, and you can’t skimp on your start-up, so you end up skimping on yourself.”

Interesting quote from 2007:

The valley’s un-family-friendly culture has long been almost a point of pride, with employers openly preferring younger, childless employees who were presumed to be more productive. “Young people just have simpler lives,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, said in 2007, when he was 23. “Simplicity in life allows you to focus on what’s important.”

There are signs the culture could be changing.

On Friday, for example, Mr. Zuckerberg sounded a different note when he said he would take two months of paternity leave after his daughter is born. (Facebook offers employees four months of paid parental leave.) On Thursday, Spotify, with headquarters in London and Stockholm and offices worldwide, said it would give full-time employees six months of paid parental leave and one month of transition in which they can work flexible or shorter hours.

Long hours in the office and the expectations of being connected at home are familiar to workers across industries, not just Silicon Valley. Fifty-six percent of parents in dual-income households across the wage spectrum say they find the work-family balance to be difficult and stressful. But tech takes the high-stress, high-stakes American work culture to the extreme.

This is why diversity is key, yo: because people only feel what they themselves have experienced, and that can limit the business. When Zuck was in his early 20's, he designed products that mostly appealed to people in their early 20's, built by people in their early 20's. Now that he's a dog owner, husband, dad, homeowner, and concerned citizen... he can see a broader slice of life, which translates to bigger market opportunities.

Totally agree. I wish more Silicon Valley companies would hire more older people in general. 

You May Also Like: