Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Jim Butt


Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Jim Butt

(Editor’s Note: As part of our Hire a Family Caregiver campaign, I’ll introduce you to working family caregivers on a regular basis.)

JimToday, I'm proud to share the story of Jim Butt, who cares for wife. Jim contributed a poem to our book, A Caregiving Day, now available for purchase in both print and Kindle on . You can connect with Jim on his profile page: @jimbutt. My questions and his answers follow. We often hear that caregiving responsibilities negatively impact productivity in the workplace. How do you think your caregiving experience has made you more productive?

Jim: I learned time management in college while pledging for a service fraternity. I learned more when I ran for office. But I never imagined how much more I'd have to manage my time once I became the the house cook, taxi, companion, and housekeeper on top of my then existing duties. It all comes down to recognizing your priorities in the changed environment. On top of learning about my wife's disease and care, I've learned about myself and what I capable of. What do you enjoy about your job?

Jim: I love enabling others in achieving growth and success. My new situation limits my own career growth, so I have simply shifted my goal to simply help others achieve their goals, even while I have a staff of employees. What do you hope to achieve in your career?

Jim: I hope to achieve a reputation for professional leadership built on honest care, communication, trust, and integrity. These are not typically recognized in business performance assessments, but I know that folks appreciate that I am not out to better my own career through my efforts. My assessment will come later on, I guess. What advice would you offer to another working family caregiver?

Jim: Review your priorities. I gave up many outside interests when my situation changed. For me, my wife deserved my support and care, as does my collegiate son, so my roles and goals have changed. I didn't plan it, but I don't spend time anymore lamenting what happened (and trust me, I went through that, too). What suggestions would you offer employers that can help their employees with caregiving responsibilities?

Jim: Employers need to recognize that employee caregivers are likely to change their perspectives significantly as they perceive their changed roles. These employees need to be supported through the transition with flexibility and understanding. And employers need to recognize that employees that make the transition, assuming they remain employed, can become some of the most loyal and productive employees with a unique perspective on teamwork and mutual support. Finally, tell us about your caregiving situation. For whom do you care? How long have you been caregiving?

Jim: I care for my wife, who was diagnosed with early- or young-onset Alzheimer's at age 55 just 18 months ago following two major car accidents.

(Would you like us to profile you? Share your experiences about your life as a working family caregiver. And, be sure to complete our Working and Caregiving survey.)

Like this article? Share on social