When Rob Taylor spoke out about the pressures facing working dads, he found lots of other were feeling the same. Dads in Business is the result.
Ten men in a pub in Sheffield isn’t an unusual sight. But 10 men discussing integrity? Or time management in the home? Well, that’s not an unusual sight anymore. Not since Rob Taylor set up Dads in Business in the city.
He explains, “I felt there was nowhere to talk openly and honestly about the challenges working dads have.
“But once I raised my head above the parapet I found there was lots of dads who wanted that sort of space.
“I went on Facebook and said I was thinking about putting this group together and got quite a big response, some of it from women tagging in their partners to draw their attention to it.
“It’s really grown from there.”
And how. There’s the regular meet ups in Sheffield pubs. Each one is themed around some of the issues working dads face, including how to maintain integrity and how to manage the competing demands of work and home life.
“What’s said in the room stays in the room,” explains Rob. “That means people are happy to share some really personal stuff. But we find many of us are going through the same sort of stuff.”
Rob and his co-founder coach Angga Kara made contact with dads advocate Brian Ballantyne at Amazon. The pair were invited to present to a worldwide audience at the company.
They’re keen to take their message to any company who has an interest in supporting dads. And Rob is clear that the programme should be focussed on dads. He explains, “If you call it a wellness session or do it as part of a women’s network but say dads can get involved you won’t get men to come along. You’ve got to badge it for what it is. If you do you’re recognising men and dads have particular concerns and more will come.”
Rob runs his own marketing business. He’s a particular insight into life as a self-employed working dad with three children aged under five – Rony, Orry and Jarvis. “When I started in business I felt I had to prove a point and say yes to everything. That’s often what it’s like when you’re self employed. But then I realised by saying yes to everything I was kind of saying no to the one thing I was doing it all for – my family.”
Dads in Business focuses on four main spheres. They are all areas that working dads will recognise as pinch points – money, business, family and life. It’s important that the last of these carries equal weight.
Angga Kara is a coach that specialises in male mental health and preventing burnout. He also runs the ‘Men Up North’ group. He and Rob recognise that family pressures can contribute to burnout.
“When you feel the pressures of work, of feeling responsible for your family, of bringing in enough money the first thing to go is personal care,” says Rob.
“The meet ups are part of that. Getting together and talking with other dads.
“Sometimes as a dad you might feel bad about going out in the evening if you’ve been at work all day but actually we’ve found dads get a lot of support from their partners. They understand that self care is important. You can’t be an effective dad or partner if you don’t look after yourself too.”