Happy Father’s Day! This one goes out to the incredible RV leaders who serve as mentors to their teammates – and superheroes to their kids. Warning: Very cute, highly-quotable content ahead.
Q: What challenges do you face in balancing a career and being a father? What helps you do it?
Yih-Han Ma | Director: It’s all about bringing them along in the journey. Every day I get ready for work and Leo puts on his work clothes, climbs in his play Jeep, grabs our old phone, and “goes to work” too. He also comes to work with me on the weekends and has fun running around campus. So in his eyes, dad spending time at work doesn’t mean there’s any less time for him.
Scott Hamer | VP Mortgages & Real Estate: I love my work, but I hate leaving my girls every morning. I simply make a point to be home early to see them every night and to be the one who wakes them up every morning.
Matt Carson | NOC Support Engineer II: If at all possible, leave work at work. If you have to work from home, don’t try to work and hang out with the kids at the same time. You end up doing both poorly. If I have work that needs to be done, I try to do that after I get the kids to bed. That gives me several hours that I can really focus on hearing about their day and playing with them, then I can turn my focus to the work that needs to be done. You’ll never get these years back with your kids, so enjoy them while they last!
Q: Where do you find time to connect with your children?
Sean Mcleod | Accounting Manager: I drive my kids to school every day. Since they are strapped down, and I have their complete attention, it is a great time to discuss our goals for the upcoming day. They range from my 7 year old trying to finish reading another book to my 3 year old’s enduring journey to find the big bad wolf…
Enrique Questell | Senior Associate: I am still learning how to adjust since my little girl is only 2 months old, but I get short video clips of my little one throughout the day while she is awake. I now look forward to those moments every day.
Matt Carson | NOC Support Engineer II: Meal times are a great time to connect as a family. On the nights when we are able to gather around the table together, we go around and have everyone tell their favorite and least favorite part of their day. It’s a great way to give each person individual attention. We can help process things that maybe didn’t go as planned, and join with them in celebration of the victories. With 6 kids, I know it can sometimes feel like you don’t have a voice. I want to do everything I can to make sure they know they do.
Andy Viravong | Client Support Specialist: We spend so much time at work, so I give my family my undivided attention when I’m home and look for special ways to be engaged. For example, I coached my son’s soccer team last spring. This was our 1×1 time to bond over a sport he loves.
Arthur Murray | Senior Content Strategist: I’m a more seasoned (read: older) father than most at RV, and I’ve found that mornings are a great time for me to connect with my son and grandson, before any of us get involved in the daily hustle. We all tend to be nicer before we’ve interacted with the world. 😉
Q: What’s a lesson you’ve learned that applies both to parenthood AND leading a team?
Ben Carter | VP of Engineering: It’s really easy to get frustrated, but it’s not productive – and it won’t help in the long term. As a leader and as a parent, it’s your responsibility to lead by example. Recognize the heavily influence you have on others’ lives.
Josh Tarr | VP of HR & Talent Management: One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be more comfortable with my mistakes. Any parent will tell you that we all have a ton of missteps in parenting, but we do our best. It’s no different with leadership. Being more accepting of the mistakes I make with my team has helped me grow.
Ted Prendergast | Technical Recruiting Manager: I often times kneel down to speak to my daughter eye to eye. If found that it makes me less intimidating to her. Some times as leaders, we need to do the same. Lose the title and years of experience and put yourself in the shoes of the person talking to you. You’ll be amazed what you see.
Q: What’s the hardest part of coming back from parental leave? What advice would you give new fathers?
Enrique Questell |Senior Associate: It’s tough to miss out on everyday milestones. The first few months are filled with “firsts” and I didn’t want to miss any. Being a new parent is exhausting and extremely demanding – especially for Moms. So, my biggest advice would be to recharge as much as possible during the day so you can help take care of things at home in order for her to recharge, too.
Scott Hamer |VP Mortgages & Real Estate: The 6 weeks I took off for parental leave were the best 6 weeks of my life. The connection I had with my oldest was beyond special. My advice to new fathers (here) would be to take advantage of the incredible leave policy RV has. We’re lucky to have a benefit this great.
Matt Carson | NOC Support Engineer II: On the work side (especially at RV), a lot can happen while you’re away. Getting caught up can be difficult. Ask questions, and don’t try to do it all in one day. You’re working on very little sleep, but if you pace yourself you will make it.
Cory Tackett | Director of Engineering: The hardest part is obviously leaving your new bundle of joy! My advice is to make sure you do exactly what your wife says, sleep as much as you can, and when you’re not sleeping… hold that BABY! (see fig. A) Another piece of advice: use the amazing technology we have to stay up to speed on developments, even if you can’t be there in person.
Q: What do you hope your kids learn from your example?
Josh Tarr | VP of HR & Talent Management: My kids are still very young so they don’t quite understand what “work” is. But when they ask what I do at work, I tell them that I help people. (Such a typical “HR” answer, I know, but I do see it that way.) I hope they learn that whatever they choose to do, they have the opportunity to help others.
Arthur Murray | Senior Content Strategist: To be able to say “I’m sorry” and mean it, and to accept people regardless of color, gender, gender role, or social status. I’m proud to say I believe they do follow those two good examples I’ve set.
Nick Trull | Director of LifeSports/RV Health & Wellness: Patience. Stay persistent with what you believe, but be patient that it will come along. (Even if you have to say it 3,000 times…)
Cory Tackett | Director of Engineering: I hope I’ve taught my boys to put others first, to learn something new every single day, and that hard work will always pay off.
Q: Any other wisdom for the road?
Enrique Questell |Senior Associate: Let your mind be empty and enjoy the simplicity in being around your kid. Before being a parent, I felt the need to keep my mind fully occupied. My baby girl changed that – just being there with her is enough.
Sean Mcleod | Accounting Manager: Accept advice only as much as it makes you a more confident parent. Don’t let others’ opinions or experiences make you feel inadequate. Work hard. Love your kids. That will always be enough.
Ben Carter | VP of Engineering: Responsibility to your family and your career can live in harmony. As a new father, rethink your commitments and seek out ways to better balance your time. Cut out unnecessary work, calls, and meetings that aren’t in line with your focus. Also, I highly recommend digital means to check in on your kids through the day!
Josh Tarr | VP of HR & Talent Management: Achieving “balance” is different for every parent, and it changes over time. I’ve learned not to aim for balance. Instead, I try to be intentional about where I choose to invest my time, and be present for whatever that is. Also, parenting is really hard! I’m grateful for all of the other RV Moms and Dads I can share stories (good and bad) with and get advice from. As working parents, we’re able to lean on each other.
Keep the inspiration coming. Up next: advice from amazing RV moms. (Yes, there are even more baby pics.)