My wife and I come from modest upbringings, which is one of the many drivers as to why we are both career oriented. We have chosen our career focused paths through advanced education, first with my wife supporting me to get my MBA and now with me supporting my wife through graduate school to become a CRNA (Nurse Anesthetist). I didn't know it until I completed Sheryl Sandberg's book, but I was leaning in. My wife's graduate program is intense to say the least. Most nights, she is up until 12am completing assignments and has to get up at 4:30am to make it to the hospital on time the next morning. In order for us to have any quality time together, I had to step up on home duties.
I decided to wake up every morning with her, to fix her coffee, breakfast and lunch. I also decided to leave work at a reasonable time on most nights to have dinner ready when she returns from the hospital. My duties extended to doing most of the house chores as well, including taking care of our dog. My wife supported me through my graduate program and it was my turn to support her.
At work, I assumed leaving work at reasonable times and working from home additional hours when required was acceptable. However, it was to my surprise, when I was told that I earned the reputation as the 5:30pm guy. It didn't matter that I was the first at work every morning since I regularly wake up early. I was perceived to care less about my job because I regularly left around 5:30pm to have dinner ready for my wife. On every other dimension, I have high marks at work, but have been asked to stay later if I want improve my likelihood for career advancements.
It was this particular experience as to why I connected so deeply with the Lean In story. I was doing my part in supporting my wife and her career choices and was dinged at work for being a supportive husband. The lessoned I learned is to not assume anything. I should have had a talk with my employer beforehand, explaining my situation. We have since had this discussion and I have made some adjustments both at work and at home to accommodate accordingly. I also had to have this talk with my magnificent wife, who of course was understanding and also agreed to the adjustments.
Thank you Lean In! I now regularly refer to this book to further support my situation.