Saurab Bhargava was instinctive as a Lead Dad at work.
A chief digital officer when his first daughter was born in 2012, Saurab took the full parental leave that was given him. It was great for him, but it was just as good for people far more junior at the company, people who might have been fearful or ashamed to take time off to be with their newborn children.
But it was something that happened when our Lead Dad of the Week returned from leave that still resonates. Some days if his daughters or wife, who runs her own business, needed help, he would leave his Chicago office early and finish things up later.
“At a holiday party, this 22-year-old went up to my wife and says, ‘Saurab leaves early every day’,” he recalled. “My wife said, ‘What a brash thing for him to say’. But I loved it. I was showing everyone in the company what I was doing. I took it as a badge of pride. I wanted other employees to know they could do it.”
We often talk about what Lead Dads do at home for their family, but the roles they can play in the office can resonate widely through the ranks – both good and bad.
Saurab is now challenging another stigma. After leaving his most recent role a year ago, he thought he’d go right back to searching for a job, but the time with his two daughters now has him talking differently about what he’s doing now.
“I was out with some friends, and when they asked me what I was doing, for the first time I said, ‘I’m a Dad’. It felt weird, like I manifested something into the universe- to take the qualifiers out. But I’m good at this role. I’m as good at being a Dad as I was being a chief digital officer.”
With his girls 11 and 9 and his wife working 80-hour weeks, Saurab is being more intentional about his next job – while also finding time to relax himself. “We need to normalize this role,” he said.
Saurab, we couldn’t agree more. Welcome to The Company of Dads. You’re a leader among Lead Dads!