Some great insight and leadership from Andy Katz-Mayfield, one of the cofounders of Harry’s:
First of all, kudos to Andy and his company for enacting this policy. Paid leave is important to the new family as they start to comprehend and manage the new expense of a child. In a country where paid family leave is the exception, those new parents that work at Harry’s will enjoy peace of mind knowing that at least one source of income has not been interrupted.
Shortly before Victoria was born, I had the good fortune of landing a wonderful new job. The work is enjoyable and pay fantastic but one thing about the organization stood out as we settled into the first few weeks with a new baby: everyone on staff is female. I am the one dude on a staff of 6 motivated, intelligent, and hard-charging women. They are all very work-oriented but always put family first (yes, it can be done). Like the staff at Harry’s, I never had to worry about a paycheck and could focus on my growing family. Something even better though was that I never felt that I needed to get back to the office quickly, something the author struggled with. Work was being done without me, and that was ok. I was able to come back to work with a clear head and an even greater appreciation for the organization.
A simple concept put into practice: take care of your employees and they will take care of the organization. Leave is all about recovery and rest but rest doesn’t necessarily need to equal sleep. Sometimes, when the baby is down, you just want to do something else. Social media only gets me so far so I found myself during those down times, peeking at my email and scanning subject lines. I would fire off answers to questions and add insight to decisions not because I had to but, because I wanted to. If I was required to be back at a certain time or stopped getting paid while I was out, there would have been NO WAY I would have lifted a finger for my job.
On Social Pressure
Something else Andy wrote in the story, unrelated to work, grabbed my attention:
In part, I struggle with my own vulnerability. Do my friends want to get a text about how excited I am that Chloe now eats yogurt?…
…When my wife is traveling for work, is it weird to invite a couple of dudes to a picnic with my baby in Washington Square Park?
My response to Andy: these are not your friends.
If you feel the need to consider how your people would react to the above activities, they should not be part of your circle. You are your family. If your homeboy gives you a hard pass because you have a baby in tow, then that person has turned his back on all of you. Give ’em the boot! Your friends are the dudes that will hold your beer while you change a diaper and joke with you about how bad the blowouts and spilled milk have made your car smell.
Never change who you are (family, see above) for someone else’s approval.