Thank You, Professor Kelly


It was the cringeworthy–yet hilarious–kid blooper seen ‘round the world. Professor Robert Kelly, weighing in on South Korean politics  on the BBC, was interrupted by his children while his frantic wife tried to stop them. It has inspired memes, cartoons and a followup interview.

(If you have been living under a rock and have not yet seen this video, I will wait while you watch… it’s worth it.)

I personally would like to thank Mr. Kelly – from one work-from-home parent to another.

Thank you for showing the world that working from home – especially with children – is not as easy as people often think it must be. That interruptions happen. That life happens.

Thanks for showing that you can be a hardworking, intelligent person who juggles many things. That sometimes you just have to laugh about the absurdity that is often life with small children.

Kudos for showing the crack in the veneer. Thank you for being honest in saying that you feared your academic and professional reputation may be (unfairly) damaged.

You see, I work from home most of the time. And while I make arrangements and have support , it can be hard – like really, really hard. I understand it all, Mr. Kelly. The inopportune moments. The times when it all just kind of falls apart. That you have it together 95% of the time, but that other 5%…man.

But aside from the camaraderie I feel as a fellow work-from-home parent, I hope that it shows the world that we need balance in life. Maybe you have children at home. Maybe you deal with a chronic illness. You could be caring for an aging parent. You could just be plain ol’ dealing with some stuff. There are so many ways that life happens and intersects with working hours. You can’t pause life. In our increasingly connected society, overlap just happens. And if your work creeps into your home hours via smartphones and Skype – can we really continue to expect that home life will never creep into our professional lives?

Listen. I am all for professionalism and dealing with things appropriately. But when things all just sort of blur together sometimes, I think we all need a lot of grace and a little laughter. I am fortunate to have a great work-life balance with an employer that understands that. Not everyone does. I think it’s time to change this – and I think a little girl in glasses and a baby in a walker might just have helped us a little bit.


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