So far 2016 has been full of landmark, groundbreaking and remarkable shifts in the parental landscape. Week by week we see, celebrate and positively reinforce the ways in which the private sector is addressing the needs of their existing and future employee base via parental leave and other related benefits programs.
This week started off with Coke sharing their news of newly expanded parental leave and the ways in which they are actively improving leave (and we hope return as well) for their team. New York and San Francisco joined the leave wave, adding public sector power to the shift of the century.
So leave, yes – we are excited and motivated by it.
But I propose that really we have begun to do is to let go.
Let go of shoving our lives into the confines of a one-size-fits-all workplace.
Let go of the lingo – old, antiquated phrases that never quite moved us anywhere anyway. We’ve let go of the concepts of:
- Motherhood penalties
- Maternity leave
- Primary parents
- And other misnomers that go bump in the night
By the private sector letting go, we have given rise to a whole new vocabulary and a much more personal and celebrated story of employer and employee. A story full of twists, turns and options to give it even more color. This is the more honest story, one about parents who have full lives that include work, and not the other way around.
This is the new view, one that includes the tale about the person who became Mom or Dad and how they do what they do. It’s a view that encompasses families, parents and the ways in which they work and play without losing sight of their own goals, values and aspirations, as well as the workplaces that love and respect them.
This is stunning because in letting go of what we knew, employers are providing a generous amount of blank canvas that then allows for each employee to paint the truest picture of their work/life fit – how they define it and how they find their own, very personal version of success.
In this week’s New York Times, Frank Bruni stops to notice what is newly acceptable and commendable – the renaissance of our connection to all we hold dear, not only a singular, monetizable element of it— rather that elusive “and identity” — one where we are this and that. And while this one piece is father-focused, we all know the picture is much bigger than that.
With this new, bold blank swath of canvas a few new truths and question begin to reveal themselves. For starters, where can you find the canvas on which you can boldly, proudly and highly individually paint your own masterpiece? That is about where you invest your professional energies and time, And, that is your own beautiful choice.
Because after-all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And the canvas is in the court of the employer. Today, choosing that employer is now much different than it was.
The mosaic of what this looks like for today’s parents, well that is on the pages of the It’s Working Project.