Want To Take Paternity Leave? Find Your Allies

Expanding the Idea of “Family”: Part Onepaternity leave allies
Image courtesy of Laercio Cavalcanti.

This blog is a part of our This Is How You Dad series.

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By Krishna Nadella. One of my favorite movies of all time is Francis Ford-Coppola’s The Godfather. The film is a fascinating study into the concepts of right and wrong, power and leadership, friends and enemies, and most of all the importance of family. My favorite quote from the movie is when Don Corleone says in front of his son, “A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

Family is important to me—I chose to take primary caregiver leave, which I’m now nearly halfway through. But to be honest, taking an extended leave didn’t even cross my mind when my wife became pregnant with our third child. I was prepared to return to work after the standard one-month paternity leave—until a colleague of mine suggested otherwise.

Making the decision to take time off wasn’t easy. Once the idea of taking leave was planted in my mind, a host of questions, thoughts, and concerns popped up. This is something a lot of men struggle with, and I am often asked who helped me along the way.

Aside from my family, two men in my Bloomberg LP “professional family” come to mind: one whom I spoke with extensively and the other whom I didn’t speak to at all. If not for their words and actions, my decision would not have come so easily.

I’ll discuss the first of those two individuals today.

Because I’m a senior manager and none of my peers had been through the same experience, I felt somewhat alone in figuring out what this would mean for my career. I knew that once I spoke about it with my wife, it would be like opening Pandora’s Box—I couldn’t take it back.

In this situation, there was one person I wanted to speak with first and foremost: Layne Moskowitz.

"Primary caregiver leave wasn’t just a professional and personal decision—it was an emotional one, too."

A Bloomberg veteran with almost two decades of experience at the firm, Layne has been a senior leader in multiple divisions across multiple sales teams. Many of his current and former employees have said that they see him as a professional father figure. His ability to make time for others and provide guidance, direction, and mentorship is what makes him stand out.

Not surprisingly, he is also the father of three daughters.

In the three years I have worked alongside him, our relationship has evolved from cordial colleagues to fast friends. So even before I broached the topic of taking primary caregiver leave with my wife, I spoke with Layne.

I remember that conversation vividly. I told him about the predicament of my wife’s fledgling private practice. I knew I could help her and my family, but at the same time, I was concerned about the impact on my career.

Layne was very patient with me, letting me talk through my thoughts and fears. When I finished my brain-dump, I realized this wasn’t just a professional and personal decision—it was an emotional one, too.

Layne, to his credit, didn’t tell me what I should do. Instead he asked me the following questions:
  1. Do you see this time away as an opportunity or an obligation?
  2. What would your wife and kids want?
  3. Most importantly, what do you want?
Those three simple questions cleared my mind. And even though he didn’t tell me what to do, Layne did leave me with this lasting thought: “Krishna, although I never professionally found myself in the position you are currently in, if I was, I would have taken the time to be with my wife and kids. It’s time you never get back. Even though the days will feel long, the years will go by way too fast.”

I am truly grateful to have someone like Layne Moskowitz—an ally who can listen without passing judgment. While it’s true that our workplaces can often feel competitive, we should never lose sight of our common struggles. That’s what family is for.
d8d59e661677028e92baea31d92e3972-originaKrishna C. Nadella is a senior sales manager at Bloomberg LP.


Posted by MARC Catalyst on Nov 6, 2018 10:28 AM America/New_York

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Business case
Mentoring and sponsorship
Paternity leave and fatherhood
Masculinity and gender
Actions to take