For Dads In The Valley, Balancing Work And Home Is Tough, Too

By Kristen V. Brown
San Francisco Chronicle.

The life of a venture capitalist is a life spent networking — the job often entails long hours and late nights, both to schmooze potential investors and keep a finger on the pulse of the tech industry.

But after Fred Wang, a partner at Trinity Ventures, had his first daughter, he quickly realized his working life required a reboot. His own father was an entrepreneur whose dedication to the job left little time for family. Wang wanted to be there for his children.

So Wang volunteered to coach sports for his three children, now ages 17, 15, and 12, over the years coaching 20 teams. He helps with math and science homework. And this spring, he was there to express the mandatory fatherly concern upon seeing the dress his eldest daughter had selected for the prom.

To accomplish all that, Wang cut down his work hours down to about 50 a week. Sometimes, he said, his work has suffered — and his colleagues were not always pleased.

“There has been pushback from some of my partners, for sure,” said Wang. “Some of them feel like we have to be out at events every night, meeting with entrepreneurs. But one is an empty nester, one doesn’t have children and the other one is a brand-new father and I think he doesn’t quite understand what’s coming yet.”

Balancing the demands of work and home is often characterized as a women’s issue — especially in Silicon Valley’s youthful and hyper-masculine culture, where long hours are viewed as a badge of honor and company policies are not always family-friendly.

But while the challenges tech dads face are often overlooked, they are there all the same.

In one extreme example portrayed in a new biography of Elon Musk, the Tesla founder scolded an employee for choosing to attend the birth of his child over a work event. (Musk has denied the incident.)

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