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Rubber Moments and Crystal Balls

Time Magazine just published an online piece about work-life balance for CEO dads. In it, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, describes what he calls “rubber” and “crystal” moments.

You can bounce back from missing a rubber moment, like a soccer game, he says. But the clear implication is that missing a crystal moment—a graduation or the birth of a child—will create lasting damage.

Smith’s metaphor mirrors the glass ball story that Rebecca Ryan talks about in her first book.

For Rebecca, work is the rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other big moments in life are glass. Drop them and they break. (It’s a lesson Rebecca says she learned from her father’s hospice nurse. You can fill in the rest.)

We recently wrote about Silicon Valley executive Max Schireson who stepped down as CEO in order to be more available to his kids. Work is rubber for Schireson too, it appears. Although, he does acknowledge the ball not might bounce as high on its way back. But he’s decided that’s okay.

What’s rubber and what’s glass to you?

– Jaime