Parenting is hardly a Mom-show. No doubt, it takes two to tango. From those long newborn nights to paving the way towards adulthood while capturing the lively toddler moments, Dads are as much part of the journey as Moms.
Back in April when I launched the How She/He Does It column, I promised you we would have working Fathers join the talk, and openly share their parenting experiences. Here’s me delivering in that promise, with our first working Dad, Josh Bersin.
I strongly feel that Josh needs no special introduction, given that he is a renowned global expert in all things HR. But to me, personally, he is no less than a legend, so I can’t help but add a few extras about him.
Josh is my professional role model. I look up to him not only for his broad expertise in all-things HR, but also for his ongoing determination to help the field grow and embrace tomorrow’s challenges. Josh wears many professional hats. He’s a global industry analyst covering all aspects of the world of work, an iconic HR consultant, a board member of UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Executive Education, and the founder and Dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, hands down the best place for HR professionals to grow! Still, when I asked him to describe what he does, he referred to himself “an analyst who has been studying the world of work for 20 years”. And that alone speaks volumes of his character!
But, what fascinates me most about Josh and his notable career in HR, let alone his humility and openness, is the fact that (as he oftentimes puts it) he is “an Engineer who didn’t go to HR School”. And this resonates in me so much. Why? Because I’m an Engineer who didn’t go to HR School either, and Josh’s paradigm is my constant reminder that I can achieve whatever I put my focus and determination on, with only the sky as the limit!
I am extremely grateful (more than these few words can say) that Josh took time off his busy schedule to take part in our column and share his experience as a working Dad with all of us. We only have to gain from embracing and openly discussing the many roles we juggle, personal and professional ones, including the challenges, the opportunities, the lessons learned and our overall experience.
So, without further ado, here’s Josh Bersin explaining How He Does It!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an industry analyst and have been studying HR, HR technology, corporate training, and all aspects of life at work for the last 20 years. Originally I studied engineering and worked as an engineer for a few years, then spent twenty years in technology companies, and fell into HR in the early 2000s. I’ve never looked back.
I live in Oakland California, I have two wonderful children (late 20s) and have been married for over 30 years.
I am an avid learning and explorer at heart. My father was a scientist and I have always gotten pleasure from trying to “solve problems,” and figure out patterns in the world. HR brings together people science, economics, business, and technology in an amazing way so it has been a joy to find myself in this profession.
Stemming from your personal experience, what is the toughest part of being a Dad, and how do you manage it?
By far the hardest part of parenting is “being a parent” without “trying to micro manage” kids. I’ve learned that the most important part of parenthood is “being there” for your children, which is hard to do when we work hard and travel for a living. Having a wonderful wife certainly helps, and always working together to make sure your children get the support and attention they need.
I believe children always need and want the support of their parents (even as they become adults of their own), so remembering that being a parent is a life long responsibility is an important thing to remember. And also it’s important to try to set a good example – kids learn from what you do, not so much what you say.
Who is (are) your go-to person(s) when you need support as a Father? What type of support are you mostly in need of?
My biggest role models are my parents (my Mom is 89 and still vital and very active), my wife (she is by far the most important person in my life), and my friends – who I look to as role models to learn from also.
What’s the No1 Skill (or Ability, or Knowledge) you have found handy in your role as a Dad?
As I mentioned earlier, I think children learn from “who you are” not “what you say.” So the first thing I’d say is to “be authentic” and really learn to be honest with yourself. Children are ultimately forgiving for all the things we’re not proud of about ourselves, and if you’re honest with yourself (and with them) they see a sense of truth and authenticity to life – which gives them the freedom to find themselves in the world.
I firmly believe that everyone in the world has the opportunity to be happy and successful if they find their own passions and focus on them, so showing children how to do this in a supportive way is a huge part of parenting. And of course keeping a sunny outlook helps too.
What advice do you have for a new Father?
Enjoy it. It’s a journey and probably the most important learning experience in your life. Nobody is perfect as a parent, but if you just remember you’re here to protect, support, and develop your kids you’ll do the right thing.