More time with my family.

Previously published Slate articles made new.
June 14 2007 1:26 PM

More Time With My Family

Right. And the check is in the mail.

(Continued from Page 1)

(I fed the family alibi to the Washington Post when I quit my Washington job in 1994. I did, however, add that I had failed to acquire a family, and I hoped to secure a wife and two children as soon as possible so we could spend more time together.)

Another indemnifying exit strategy is to claim that you're seeking "new opportunities," without naming them. This excuse usually appears in the form of a corporate press release, because nobody can keep a straight face when it's spoken out loud. In a more honest world, it wouldn't be tacky for titans of industry to say they're leaving to pursue a fully deployed golden parachute as they bail out.

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The person who actually does quit to spend more time with the family may discover that paid work is almost always more rewarding than the "tedious work" of child rearing. Or so says Arlie Hochschild in The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work. The modern home is like an assembly-line factory, with an endless stream of clothes to clean and kids to shuttle and broken windows to fix and meals to cook. Why not escape the noise and the pressure of being a Superadult for the rewards of the workplace, where supervisors are trained to understand you?

Let's call Paxon's bluff and see if he stays close to home to nurture Suby or takes another demanding job. Of course, I'm betting on the demanding job. During the farewell tour of his legislative district, Paxon indicated the depth of his enthusiasm in raising Suby when he let Molinari change the diaper as their plane touched down in Buffalo, N.Y. His technique is "too methodical and slow," she said.

My hero, though, is Richard Heseltine, the chairman of the Overseas Investment Trust, who resigned earlier this month in opposition to the business plan forced on him by his superiors. Heseltine declined to enumerate his disagreements with his bosses but said: "Put it this way, it's nothing to do with ill health, it's not to pursue other interests, it's not to spend more time with my family."

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