Paternity inspiration

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“I would love to go on paternity leave, but the sad fact is that I am just too busy…”

I hear that a lot.

I am sure that is true that these men are busy, but are they more busy than Mark Zuckerberg?

Well, Mark Zuckerberg just announced (on Facebook – where else?) that he is going to take two months paternity leave when his child is born.

Hearing his decision to prioritise his child over his “other baby”(Facebook) for 8 weeks made me very happy.

But not surprised.

For two reasons.

  1. Mark seems very determined. Not only around how he has grown Facebook to such an amazing company so fast and at such a young age, but also, for example, how he decided to learn Mandarin on his spare time.  Not so long ago he gave a 20-minute speech in (beginner) Mandarin to Chinese students about the history of Facebook.
  2. He is young, obviously good at seeing new trends and picking up on changes in society.

Hearing how (arguably) one of the most admired business leaders and entrepreneurs in the world has decided to spend 60 days at home when his child is born is inspiring on so many levels. (I just hope that he decides to save some of the off days for later in his child’s life too.)

It shows that something is changing in the world of business.

It should, hopefully, also inspire change way outside the Zuckerberg family.

When Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg did a TED-talk and wrote a book (Lean in) about her views on how to empower women to reach their goals (and make it in the business world)  it created a huge, positive momentum to push for more women in higher positions in business.

Hopefully Mark’s decision to go on paternity leave can create a similar huge, positive momentum in another direction – to push more men to take a (temporary) step back from business to connect on a deeper level with their kids.

As one of the most famous people on earth, as one of the richest, and probably also one of the more connected Mark Zuckerberg can more or less choose what he wants to focus on. He has now chosen to focus on his family, his wife and his (soon to be born) child.

That says a lot about him as a person.

If he can choose paternity over work for two months, then – surely – could many, many of the men who say they do not have the time?

I will go out on a limb here and say: If Mark can do it – then so can you.


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Spotify, the very trendy music streaming service, just announced that they will introduce offer six months of parental leave – with 100% pay – to all full-time employees globally, effective immediately.


At the press conference where they announced it Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, said: “I think we can be a role model.”

Hell, yes that you can.

Other trendy companies are on the same bandwagon.

Facebook has announced that they will offer “US employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year.” (That in a country that has zero (0!)

Netflix a few weeks ago came out and said that have introduced a  trailblazing unlimited paid leave policy for new moms and dads, inviting them to take off “as much time as they want”.”

The post on their own website read:

At Netflix, we work hard to foster a “freedom and responsibility” culture that gives our employees context about our business and the freedom to make their own decisions along with the accompanying responsibility. With this in mind, today we’re introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.

We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences.

Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home. This new policy, combined with our unlimited time off, allows employees to be supported during the changes in their lives and return to work more focused and dedicated.

(It is such an awesome post I am quoting it in its entirety…)

Summary: It is almost as if – suddenly – all the trendiest of trendy companies have realised that the trendiest thing that they can do is to boost up the ability for parents to spend time with their kids.

If your company is not doing the same, then inform them about this post.

Tell them what other companies are doing.

And get them to change too.

And if they do not, go work for someone else who understands where the trend is heading.

It’s time to get with the times. And these times are calling for dads to go on paternity leave.


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