The mailbag here at Spending More Time With The Family magazine was crammed as usual this month. Here's just a selection of what our new family men and women had to say about some recent issues:
Little did I know that spending more time with the family ("What to Expect When You Stay Home," August 2002) would be such a nightmare -- worse than when I took over at Consolidated Widget. Cash flow a mess, no long-term strategy, slipshod inventory control (e.g., no light bulbs but a dozen cases of Diet Coke). I moved a consultant from McKinsey into the carriage house and we start performance reviews first thing tomorrow. Junior's a nice kid but it looks like he'll have to go; time and motion studies show he's less efficient than a lawn crew using a pair of scissors!
-- Former CEO
Spending more time with the family was the best decision I ever made. The little woman is one great chauffeur -- waits in the Land Cruiser outside my club for hours -- while my teenage daughter takes dictation like a pro, and her kid brother has set up a first-class mailroom in the basement. The real "acid test" of their loyalty will come tomorrow when I announce that I'm firing the dog, who isn't a team player and anyhow is way past mandatory retirement age. Wish me luck!
-- Former Hedge-Fund Heavy
Thanks for the tip ("Hints From the Homefront," July 2002) on how to tell your kids apart. Those name tags work like a charm!
-- Ex-Studio Head
Anybody else out there have my problem? Seems I spoke too soon -- turns out my family isn't interested in spending more time with me, and I'm living at the Y until something comes up. A reminder that even the ex-top exec should have all her ducks in a row before making a major announcement!
-- Crestfallen Former VP/Technology
That article on the importance of establishing the ground rules before you leave your job to spend more time with the family ("It's All About Limits," August 2002) hit home with me! My brood all seemed to think it was going to be some endless holiday full of vacations and cookouts and all that jazz -- and oh, those long faces every time I leave for a golfing weekend! I agree with that corporate lawyer ("Letters," June 2002) who said that "with the family" doesn't mean "in the family." The way I see it, they're welcome to share the house as long as they don't get in the way. You have to lay down strict limits or you're doomed to have your time eaten up by endless frivolous distractions.
Tip: When the boy wants to play catch or the wife mentions the PTA meeting, blah-blah-blah, just say, "Send me a memo!" Nine times out of ten, that's enough to squelch the issue on the spot.
-- Former Chairman of a Dot.com Board
I don't know how it got into the press release that I wanted to spend more time with my family, because I don't even have one ("Ms. Media Big Shot Takes the Leap," July 2002). I ought to slap a lawsuit on those lightweights in the marketing and communications operation.
-- Former Media Big Shot
Re "The Ten Biggest Boo-Boos in Spending More Time With the Family" (July 2002), you can add an 11th: spending time with the wrong family! Whoops, it was 3636 and not 6363 Maple Drive. But unless you're hanging out there all the time, those red-brick Georgians with circular drives look exactly the same. So glad the cops understood!
-- Former CFO
(McCall writes from his home office in New York.)
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