And in some ways, this is truer today than in the prior century when Jack was still running GE since the workforce has shrunk dramatically in the past few months. That means more challenges to answer and fewer execs to shoulder the rock. GE is the parent company of CNBC.
I think it’s the first part of that much-quoted sentence that raised hackles: “no such thing as work-life balance.” Taken alone, those words ring false in most companies today. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 enforces a certain work-life balance in U.S. companies – and some, including GE, have gone beyond FMLA to provide opportunities and benefits to workers (including execs) to embrace life.
The second part about choices and their consequences is surely true. If one’s company permits an unpaid sabbatical, or family leave time beyond FMLA requirements, or summer hours, or work-at-home opportunities, that’s a terrific opportunity to take advantage of some work-life balance. But having made that choice, it would seem to be inevitable that the choice made might have some consequences, especially for managers and executives.
There are subtle aspects to getting ahead as an exec that fall outside the technicalities of the law and inside the boundaries of good old fashioned climbing. If you are not working, it is hard to be helping your boss. If you are not at the office, it’s hard to lead those who are. And if you’re not available to colleagues 24/7, it’s going to be hard to get that next promotion.
What do YOU think?
Erik Sorenson is CEO of Vault, the Web’s most comprehensive resource for career management and job search intelligence. Vault provides top talent with the insider information they need to make critical career decisions. An Emmy award-winning media industry veteran, Erik served as president of the MSNBC cable news channel through 2004. His experience spans radio, local and network broadcast television, cable and syndicated TV, and the Web.
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