When Work Life Interferes With Family Life

By Lily Garcia
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, September 6, 2007 12:00 AM

I recently switched companies and am working in a field that I've been in for several years. The new company is asking that I attend a basic training program at corporate headquarters for two weeks. This is a problem, because I have two small children and that's too long for me to be away from them. I have already completed a similar program at the previous company I worked for. By the time I'm to attend the training program, I will have already been on the job seven months.

What are my options for explaining to management I really can't leave my children for two weeks?

Don't simply tell management that attending the program is impossible for you because of childcare. Provide your supervisor with a few alternative solutions. Here are some suggestions:

Split it up. If the program is offered more than once a year, perhaps your employer would agree to let you to attend one week now and one week later.

I assume that leaving your children for one week at a time would be easier on your family as well.

Postpone it. How important is it to your employer that you attend this upcoming session? Would they be willing to wait until your children are a little older?

I would not recommend skipping the program on the basis that you've previously attended similar training. You might be able to persuade your new employer that your prior training makes it less important for you to attend right now.

Conference in. Maybe you could attend some, or all, of the program by telephone or video conference call. You might miss out on some evening events and networking, but you will probably still be able to learn the material.

Your new employer's requirement is obviously a burden for you. But reframing your thought process about its relevance may help to lighten the load. Even if the curriculum is identical to your previous training, you may still derive value from learning the nuances of how the new company operates and also get the chance to network with your peers.

Join Lily Garcia on Tuesday, September 18 at 11 a.m. ET for How to Deal Live.

Lily Garcia has offered employment law and human resources advice to companies of all sizes for 10 years. To submit a question, e-mail lilymgarcia@gmail.com. We reserve the right to edit submitted questions for length and clarity and cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered.

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