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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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How often can you see a shooting star?

I asked a few of my friends and their answers ranged from “every 2-3 days” to “once every 6 months?”

But according to “Ask an astronomer” at Cornell university the correct answer is: “when stargazing you can expect to see a shooting star every 10 to 15 minutes.”

The key words here are “when stargazing”.

The reason most of us do not see more shooting stars is simply because we do not spend enough time focusing on the night sky.

If we want to see more shooting stars we should.

And if we want to experience more magical moments with our children we should spend more time focused on them.

Because just like a shooting star is gone in a blink of an eye, so are those magical parenting moments.

But if you pay attention you can catch them and cherish them forever.

Those “Shooting Star Parenting Moments” will rain over you when you decide to focus on your child.

And suddenly something as seemingly mundane as cutting your child’s nails will become unforgettable.

Once you get hooked on “Childgazing” you very likely will feel an urge to spend more time being there in the moment with your child.

(Videos below of an adorable Shooting Star Parenting Moment with a dad cutting his child’s nails. I also included a video of one of my own SSPM with my daughter. Enjoy Fatherhood.)

 

 

 

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You know something is changing with men’s attitude towards work vs fatherhood when you see a advertising campaign with the message “Am I a good father?”.

Especially when you realise that it is a global campaign for an investment bank like UBS is making it.

Let me say that again: A global, investment bank is trying to attract new customers by running a campaign about fatherhood…

It is bold.

(And honestly a bit stupid, since the banking industry and especially the investment banking part of it is known for ridiculous long working hours of up to 90-100 hours per week. (Source)

I guess the campaign is targeted at the bank’s customers, not its employees. (Then again, those customers are probably also working way too much.)

But just the fact that a advertising campaign for a global investment bank has fatherhood as a theme is just awesome.

Change can not come unless we first start to address the issues.

Will the men of tomorrow prioritise “work-life balance” more in the spirit of “life-work balance”? In other words, will they put “life” before “work”?

We will see.

I actually think so.

And I think that the fact that someone in an advertising agency thought this campaign was a good idea is proof of it.

And I think that the fact that someone at UBS decided to run it is another proof of it.

Change happens in small steps, but many small steps create a long journey.

I salute UBS for the decision to run this campaign. I just hope that they also make sure that the message that it brings is brought back to its own organisation.

 

(Below is the video ad that goes with the campaign.)

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