A curious thing happened towards the end of 2019.
I witnessed three prominent men in the tech industry speak about parenthood, marriage, and the role that men can play in the household. That isn't typical for the industry that I work in.
First, it was a LinkedIn post by Dave Gerhardt, formerly with Drift. He wrote about his daily schedule and how he made a concerted effort to be home with the kids, saying no to meetings past 5pm.
And then, Paul Graham (founder, YCombinator) wrote an essay about marriage and kids.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures followed up shortly, writing about his relationship with his wife and about their decision to choosing to have kids early in their marriage.
Perhaps these aren't isolated events, and there are other male voices in the community that deserve to be amplified. But as someone new to parenthood, these three posts resonated with me. I've realized that not only is it acceptable to talk about these issues publicly, but what women (and primary caregivers of children) have to endure particularly in the early stages of parenthood are significant, it is imperative that men (and partners) learn from others how to support their partners appropriately.
Perhaps a tide has turned. Perhaps these three posts are a signal that this new decade ushers in a gentler, kinder tech industry, with less emphasis on bro-ism, hustle porn and chest thumping, and more focus and attention on building inclusive cultures.
And speaking of buzzwords - there is one that does represent the true nature of culture in 2020: work-life integration. This term is attributed to Jeff Bezos describing Amazon's culture in the early days. Work-life integration has critics and proponents alike, and increasingly is a source of tension in many households (including mine). Personally I've tried to fight this integration since my child was born, but I don't think it is possible. Work and Life are now delicately intertwined, and instead of denying it, I'm choosing to embrace it. I'm lucky to work in an industry where it is possible to have flexible schedules, and tools and tech that can assist with remote and asynchronous team communications. This means changing call schedules around to be home with the baby, so that my wife can get to a dentist's appointment or get coffee with her friends. This means waking up earlier to help soothe a five-month-old so that my wife gets a break. To me, work-life integration means that happiness at work and at home are part of the same equation.
But perhaps where Jeff Bezos and Amazon got it wrong was how they marketed this new culture.
They should have called it woke-life integration.
Yes, that's a dadjoke. You're welcome :-)
p.s. I'm starting a Slack community for dads + non-primary caregivers of children; mainly to chat about how we can support our partners better as we raise children. If you know someone who you think needs or want to be part of the Slack group, post in the comments or DM me on twitter.