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Rahm Emanuel's Balancing Act

The congressman from Illinois is doing a little dance around the offer to be president-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff.

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois is expected to accept the job of White House chief of staff today, according to various news sources, and if he does so, he'll beat out others on a shortlist that included Senators Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) and Dick Lugar (R-Indiana).

Emanuel has been the lead front-runner for a while, and has yet to formally accept. Why so shy all of a sudden, Mr. Hard-Charging Inside Man? On MSNBC last night, Emanuel expressed concern about how the appointment would affect his family and his career. Somehow, though, I don't think the balancing act will be too much of a problem for the former staffer of the Clinton administration who went on to orchestrate the Democrats' House victory in 2006 and who has played a major fund-raising role in president-elect Barack Obama's historic campaign. To be sure, the chief of staff role is critically important for the president and requires challenging works hours for a family man with three kids.

Somehow, I'm not convinced that's the reason. Not that I'm giving short shrift to the idea of work-life balance. Everyone has trouble with it. What I do know is that Rahm Emanuel figured out the secret, which includes a surprising activity that had kept him on point since he was 16, and shared it with Fast Company back in 1999.

So quit playing coy, Rahm Emanuel, and just take the job already, if it's yours to take. There's important work to be done. Like helping Obama pick a new Treasury Secretary.