Her manager not only listened, he helped ease her financial worry
Parenting is hard as hell — full stop. Trying to balance family while holding down a full-time job is challenging in the best of times, but when you’re overwhelmed (which happens more than most of us would like to admit), it can feel damn near impossible. One manager found his employee crying at her desk from that very feeling and his reaction is one all employers can learn from.
Bernie Reifkind, CEO of executive search firm Premier Search, Inc., said he came into the office one morning to find an employee sobbing at her desk. She was obviously exhausted, and when Reifkind asked her what was wrong, he found out she’d been up all night with her sick child.
He asked her why she’d bothered to come in and she told him an answer all too familiar to many working parents: She’d run out of sick days and couldn’t afford to miss another day. Reifkind responded immediately, telling her to go home and assuring her she’d get paid. But he didn’t stop there — he decided to write the woman a check to “alleviate her immediate financial worry.”
After telling the story on LinkedIn, he turned his attention to other business owners and leaders. “Employers,” Reifkind wrote, “please understand that most people are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Burning the candle at both ends. Trying to make ends meet. Kids, homework, spouses, significant others, elder parents, mortgage payments, auto repairs, etc. The relentlessness of life.”
It’s so true. The attempt at balance can feel all-consuming (because it is). There are so many balls in the air all the time at home, when one thing goes wrong, it can impact everything else on your plate. On top of that, there are work meetings, project deadlines, and team members counting on you to deliver, making working parents feel like they’re being squeezed at both ends.
If you work in an environment where others don’t have kids, it can feel even harder to ask for time off or to leave early to pick kids up from daycare or go to doctor’s appointments because of the constant guilt of feeling like you’re failing or asking “too much.” Top all that with employers who don’t offer adequate time-off policies and trying to juggle all of it while worrying about money can be too much.
Reifkind reminded employers that people have enough on their plates to worry about losing their jobs. “PLEASE reassure your hard-working employees that their jobs are secure, whenever possible,” he wrote. This will, undoubtedly, come back as very good karma for employers. “To this day, she is my best employee,” he wrote. “Not just because of her talent but her loyalty.”