Joe Boughner: The Naked Dad


Punching Out Of An Industry So I Can Be a Better Dad

Making Career Choices When Family Comes First

This may come as a surprise to those of you who assume I spend my days exclusively pondering the ins and outs of modern fatherhood, with an eye towards honing my many ruminations into a sharp collection of words for this very blog. But I have a day job. A career, really. One I quite enjoy.    

I've spent the bulk of my professional life working, broadly speaking, in the field of communications/PR/marketing. I started out in communications at the organizational level (non-profit and public sector, mostly), but around the time my kid was born, a little more than four years ago, I jumped over to the agency side. Specifically, a digital/web agency. 

It was like climbing into a drag racer in the middle of a race. The agency world moves a lot faster than organizations I'd worked in previously, and the digital world more so. We don't exactly work on the bleeding edgethe nature of our client base means we tend to work with corporations and organizations that are larger and more likely to adopt newer technologies slower, after they reach critical massbut there's always something new on the horizon to keep track of, and learn about, for when our clients are ready.

A little more than a year agotired of trying to parent via webcamI changed roles at the agency, moving off of the client team to take over marketing for the company itself. The move meant I was physically present at home more often, but over the past few months I've come to realize that physical presence isn't enough. My role changed, but the industry hasn't. I've still been white knuckling along in that drag racer. It's been exhilarating, adrenaline-inducing, and, occasionally, terrifyingall feelings I quite enjoybut most of all, it's been mentally and emotionally all-consuming.

And that wasn't fair to my family. Too often I came home spent. I wasn't being the husband and father they deserved.

So, with Family Day approaching, I made a family-focused move and accepted an offer from an old employer to go back to the more traditional (and slower paced) communications world I left four-plus years ago. It's not that the job will be easier or less interesting, just that the pace of life is slower and the ground more familiar. 

It's the first time in my life I've made a lateral career move, and it's the first time I've made a career decision based on what it means for my family instead of what it means for myself. I popped the clutch on the dragster in the interest of making sure I made it home for dinner alive and in one piece. 

So, this is what it's like to be a grown up, eh?


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