By Michael House
Since becoming a dad last year, a lot of people ask me what it’s like balancing modern fatherhood and running a tech PR team. The truth is that it’s far from easy, but like anything in life, practice eventually breeds normality.
Working for an agency like the Aspectus Group is hugely rewarding, but it requires an element of constant ‘switch on’. You have to be perpetually aware of client requests and ensuring that the team is happy. It’s often said that firms with the happiest clients have the happiest teams in place and I certainly agree.
The same can be said when it comes to parenthood. Toddlers take a lot of work! The need to plan ahead is paramount ensuring that they are dressed, fed, bathed and importantly – asleep when they should be. There’s also all the planning ahead to take into account, from stocking up on milk to planning swimming lessons.
Given the similarities between juggling a busy personal life since the arrival of my son and the similarly fast-paced environment of working in tech PR, here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt:
Organisation is key
As a dad, I’m not just involved in childcare, but am passionate about ensuring my wife has the time and resource available to progress her career. The biggest challenge I faced is the need to leave the office on time on my designated nursery pick up days. It has required a renewed sense of discipline to ensure I cover off as much as possible during my working hours. Once I’m home with my son, it’s all go – from bath time tantrums to food being slung across the kitchen, just because you leave the office at 5pm doesn’t mean you are off for a relaxing evening.
Similarly, this is a trait anybody working at a tech PR agency needs to master. Juggling numerous tasks for clients at short notice as well as ticking off jobs in time for short deadlines is a fine, but vital art.
Trust your team and work as a unit
Single parents have my upmost respect. The ability to take on parenthood alone is a monumental challenge. While there are undoubtedly testing moments, my wife and I do well as a team when it comes to parenting and a large part of this is relying on each other. Be this when you’re absolutely exhausted at 5am or when there’s an emergency pick up. It’s the same when working in at a tech PR agency. You need to know that your team are all working in sync, knowing when help is needed and stepping in to reach a client’s ultimate goal. Nothing great is ever achieved by one person alone.
Modern life is relentless, particularly in a place like London where its non-stop from the tube, to the queue in the local café. Demand for results is no different, there is always a push for coverage to appear ‘yesterday’. Parenting, however, has taught me to be more patient – after all, when a toddler squirts their entire food pouch against a wall you realise you are pretty powerless to stop them. The same goes for tech PR, sometimes it’s important to slow things down a tad to ensure that you achieve the most impactful results. Quantity over quality is a trap far too many tech PR agencies have fallen into over the years.
Appreciation for what you’ve achieved
Parenting is tough. Quite often you question your ability and ask whether you are doing it right especially if it’s your first time. Likewise, tech PR does require a large dose of resilience which in turn can test your self-confidence. Some days as a parent when everything feels too much, your kid does the most amazing thing, like takes their first steps or unexpectedly gives you a hug, and it really makes you stop and take stock. It’s important to do that at work as well – look at the results you’ve achieved and give yourself the appropriate credit.
While parenting can be hard and requires a phenomenal amount of headspace, I can honestly say it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s the same when it comes to tech PR – a career steeped in hard work, loads of fun, and ultimately, the most satisfying results.
You can also read more about our tech PR services here.