LIFE WITHIN LIMITS
Top male executives are rarely asked what they had to sacrifice to reach the top. The question is usually directed at corporate women, many of whom can talk at length about the challenges of balancing babies and budgets.
Yet, with the domestic gender divide blurring – stay-at-home dads, more male involvement in child rearing – the issue of whether you can have it all is as relevant for men as for women.
GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt was recently reported as saying he had a great relationship with his wife and family because he had “eliminated everything else”. At last month’s Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network 2013 conference in Istanbul, the deal asked one of just a handful of men attending, Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice, if men could have it all. “I think it is true for everyone that you can only do so many things in life and enjoy them,” he said. “If you define work-life balance as wanting to do everything, then you can’t do that.
“We all have to make sacrifices and push other things. I look at my own life and I don’t think I missed any important chapter. I raised kids – two daughters, I lost a son to cancer – but we were very involved in all of that. I think it is a matter of choice.
“When I was raising the kids, could I play golf every weekend? No. Now that we are empty nesters and [the kids have] left, I play more golf. To say I want to be a senior executive, I want to play golf every weekend and I want to spend all the time with my family, and I also want to read 10 books a week – no, you can’t do all that.”
Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice