Everyone Should Read This Important Memo Joe Biden Sent to His Staff

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Irish America Hall of Fame's annual luncheon at Grand Salon in JW Marriott Essex House New York hotel, 160 Central Park South on March 21, 2013 in New York City.

Any parent knows how hard it can be to kiss your kid on the forehead before heading off to work. Hell, even working from home and trying to be present, both on the job and with your littles, can oftentimes turn into a circus act. That's why so many people are praising Vice President Joe Biden's awesome work/life balance memo to his staff. Not only does it highlight the importance of making time for your family, but it's also something every employer should aim to support. And as a working mom of two, I say thank you, Joe.


Parents shouldn't have to sacrifice family obligations in order to have a successful career -- or prove how committed they are to the cause. And yet, it seems like many companies expect moms and dads to do so.

That's what makes Joe's note to his staff so perfect. Not only does it help remove feelings of guilt parents often experience (the struggle is real, I tell ya), but it also reiterates the importance of employers' promoting a work culture that supports families.


As Joe says in his letter:

I would like to take a moment and make something clear to everyone. I do not expect nor do I want any of you to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work. Family obligations include but are not limited to family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, graduations, and times of need such as illness or a loss in the family. This is very important to me. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if I find out that you are working with me while missing important family responsibilities, it will disappoint me greatly. This has been an unwritten rule since my days in the senate. Thank you all for the hard work.

So perfect.

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I can't stop reading Joe's note to his staff, its simplicity, and the strong message it sends. While Biden likely did not think twice about his words, the lasting effect it will have on employees who are parents is major.

I'm pretty sure it's no secret that America struggles in the work/life department. Not only are we still fighting for paid family leave (we're the only developed country that doesn't enforce it), but it can sometimes feel like the cards are stacked against hardworking parents in the workplace.

It took my becoming a mother to understand just how frustrating life can be as a working parent. I can't tell you how many times I've chatted with fellow mommies about the fear that comes over them when they utter the words "Can I take a half day?" at work. Somehow, our society has painted a skewed picture where taking time off that you worked hard to obtain in the first place reflects poorly on your productivity.

And while the jury is still out on whether or not we can in fact "have it all," at the very least, parents shouldn't feel like trying to be committed to both their families and their jobs will cost them a promotion.

More from CafeMom: 5 Ways to Get Work-Life Balance Even When It Seems Impossible

I'm beyond thankful that I work for a company that promotes work/life balance, as it truly helps me be the best version of myself. I can only think of other parents -- including stay-at-home moms and dads, who often feel the brunt of having a partner who's constantly absent -- and the fight they endure day in and day out to prove their worthiness in the workplace.

Hopefully our society can get to a place where sentiments like the ones Joe Biden has for his staff are no big deal. Sure, parents won't be able to attend every family-related event (that's a given), but at the very least, maybe we can breathe a little easier in knowing we don't have to be absent from important obligations for the sake of keeping a steady paycheck.

I applaud Joe and other employers who aim to help take this burden of guilt off parents' shoulders.

Thank you again, Mr. Vice President.




Image via Splash News

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