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CEO Dad Says It's OK To Miss Your Kids' Birthdays For Work In Order To 'Hustle' — 'One Day They'll Thank You For It'

Photo: Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock.com
working dad and kid

We've all heard the maxim that nobody reaches the end of their life wishing they'd worked more.

But one CEO and dad on LinkedIn seemed to believe the opposite, and it had people calling him out for promoting hustle culture. 

The dad said it's OK to miss your kids' birthdays for work in order to 'hustle.'

So-called "hustle culture" — the "rise and grind" online attitude that promotes endless, intense dedication to work as a virtue and the pursuit of wealth as the most important imperative — has fallen so out of favor since the pandemic that it's surprising to see someone so clearly espouse it nowadays.

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But that seemed to be exactly what dad and CEO Shannon Scott was going for when he posted to LinkedIn a few months ago telling ambitious parents that it's OK to miss your kids' birthdays for work if it helps you succeed. 

Scott claimed that your kids will value the wealthy future you've secured for them more than your presence in their lives. 

"Let's cut the guilt trip," Scott wrote in his since-deleted LinkedIn post, which has recently gone viral all over again in Reddit forums. "It's OK to skip your kids' birthdays or miss family dinners."

CEO Dad Says It's OK To Miss Your Kids' Birthdays For WorkPhoto: Reddit

He went on to say that "contrary to those tear-jerking posts that tell you 'you'll regret missing your kids' milestones,'" it's actually more important to give your child a bright future, which he said "requires sacrifice."

Scott said he explained to his children that if he's absent, it's for good reason: "because [I'm] hustling to secure their future, to fund their dreams."

"Your kids will understand," he wrote, "and one day, they'll thank you for it."

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But psychologists have long known that workaholism tends to damage kids' emotional development and have the opposite impact on achievement.

Scott's post inspired tons of blowback from people who felt his all-or-nothing approach was both unnecessary and unhealthy — and totally out of touch with how parenting and child development actually work.

It shouldn't need to be said in this day and age, but these situations aren't black-and-white binaries. The options are not to sacrifice your entire life for your career OR be a good parent to your kids. There's a lot of gray area between those extremes.

   

   

More importantly, it is a well-known psychological phenomenon that children of workaholics tend to be less successful. Children have physical and financial needs of course, but they also have emotional needs, and not having those fulfilled because of a parent's workaholism can impair their self of self-esteem and self-worth. 

Children of workaholics have been found to have much higher levels of depression and anxiety, tend to think that they have no agency over their lives, and have trouble making decisions as adults.

All of this stems from not having their emotional needs met in their developmental years, and it often results in poor performance in school and, later, in their careers. 

In short, placing career and hustle culture ahead of your kids tends to have the exact opposite effect as workaholic parents intend. Or as one Redditor bluntly put it, "That's not how children work, dumb [expletive]."

Scott later clarified that he meant parents should not beat themselves up if they are unable to balance work and life perfectly.

"​​I wish people would stop taking things at face value and actually read between the lines once in a while," Scott wrote in a follow-up post after he went viral. 

"The point of my post wasn't 'screw your kids' birthday party, work all the time, who cares?' It was, 'It's OK not to be a perfect parent.'"

Respectfully, that's … pretty much exactly what he implied in his original post, but he's absolutely right about the outsized standards placed on working moms and dads.

CEO Dad Says It's OK To Miss Your Kids' Birthdays For WorkPhoto: Maria Svetlychnaja / Shutterstock

"Parents are put under enough pressure as it is," he wrote. "And the guilt that a lot of people put on themselves for not being a picture-perfect parent can eat you alive."

He pointed out that, at some point, most working parents are going to be forced into the position of having to put work ahead of their kids — that's the nature of the beast. And he argued that it's crucial to be forthright with your children when that inevitably happens.

"Parents — you don't have to be perfect," he wrote. "You just have to be honest." Hard to argue with that.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.