Single dad and company president urges people to stop apologizing for 'having lives' in viral essay

One dad and company president from Chicago is winning applause for his empathetic message in a now-viral essay on LinkedIn, in which he begs people to stop apologizing for “having lives” in a culture where “constant connectivity” is an unspoken expectation of many jobs.

Last week, Ian Sohn, the president of Wunderman Chicago, a creative, data and technology agency, took to the career networking platform to implore followers to not feel guilty for having to prioritize the “life” aspect of their work/life balance – especially while raising children.

In the post, which has garnered nearly 19,000 likes and more than 700 comments, Sohn opines that from a management perspective, he “never needs to know” if staffers can work online after dinner, eschewed professional emailing on a flight in favor of watching “Arrested Development,” or plan to leave work early for their kid’s soccer game.

Ian Sohn, pictured, is winning applause for his empathic message in a now-viral essay on LinkedIn. 

Ian Sohn, pictured, is winning applause for his empathic message in a now-viral essay on LinkedIn.  (Ian Sohn)

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“I never need to know why you can’t travel on a Sunday. I never need to know why you don’t want to have dinner with me when I’m in your town on a Tuesday night,” the father of sons 12 and 8 wrote online, USA Today reports. “I never need to know that you’re working from home today because you simply need the silence.”

“I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace. How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. That we don’t trust adults to make the right decisions,” Sohn continued. “How constant connectivity/availability (or even the perception of it) has become a valued skill.”

“I never want you to feel horrible for being a human being,” he concluded.

“I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace. How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. That we don’t trust adults to make the right decisions,” Sohn, pictured, wrote online. 

“I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace. How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. That we don’t trust adults to make the right decisions,” Sohn, pictured, wrote online.  (Ian Sohn)

Sohn’s stance on the often-debated, delicate balance of personal and professional obligations has since been hailed as refreshingly honest and “amazing” by commenters.

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“As a single dad of three boys this is the most refreshing post I have read about work life balance. Thank you for this!” one user exclaimed. “People don’t leave bad companies they leave bad managers.”

“This is great! Not a single parent... but I also believe this applies to everyone. (And Arrested Development seasons 1-3 are fantastic,)” another agreed.

As for the essay’s wider impact, Sohn told USA Today that he was surprised some people went so far as to describe him as “brave” for sharing his views.

"Like any modern business ... there's an additional need to respect other people's lives and environment you work in, and everyone is accountable for getting their job done,” the Wunderman president mused.

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"[Commenters] each read it and found it lends itself to their own situation," he said. "I find that so interesting."