A Letter To My Daughters’ Employers

To My Daughters’ Managers,

Thank you. You’re leading a workforce that I couldn’t imagine in 2019 and struggled to believe would happen in 2024.

Hearing stories from my daughters on how you have advised, coached and, on occasion, cajoled them into performing at their best – in the broadest sense of that word – is energizing. You know that communicating a policy matters as much as creating that policy. I can see how the support you’re giving them has allowed them to work at a high level whether in the office or at home and to know they can be honest about other responsibilities they have. What you’re doing is amazing – but was no way guaranteed back when I started The Company of Dads in 2022.

Several things stand out.

First, it’s great to see the idea of Care Shifts has taken hold. They were once hard for managers to wrap their heads around, but now the benefits of a Care Shift are so clear – encouraging people to work synchronously for 5-6 hours a day and then trusting them to get their other work done at times that make more sense for them. My daughters don’t have the same stress around school pickup and dropoff that we did. They’re not lying to their coworkers – or trying to multitask. And they clearly have a loyalty to your companies for investing in them that our generation didn’t have.

But it goes further than that. The framework is important. But how you as managers speak about the policy is so refreshing. My daughters barely believe me when I tell them stories about corporate speak when we were their age. When people said they were “going to spend more time with their family,” everyone figured they’d been fired. When they said they were working from home, we figured they were slacking off. Sure, there’s an expectation (but also an acceptance) that if they take several hours for family matters in the afternoon, they’ll make that up. But they accept that as part of the tradeoff and there’s no resentment.

Last, but not least, you’re managing these workforces with real equity. I said for years that companies should require men to take equal parental leave – not for the men themselves but for real gender equity in the workplace. When men didn’t take their full leave, they were seen as more committed to work and promoted more quickly. What it really meant was they were there in the office more. For too long, parenting was seen as a gendered responsibility, that moms would be the ones to interrupt their careers to do it, and it’s remarkable to see how that his changed for this generation. Bringing together what we used to call Lead Dads and Working Moms as allies has turned out to be as fruitful as I had hoped.

Thank you again for managing with such wisdom and eye on the long game.