My daughter Waverly cannot believe I work with SpongeBob. Or Dora. Or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
And that’s just the beginning of what amazes her about Viacom. She loves that I work in “Robot City,” (as she calls Times Square). She is already planning her route through our skyscraper for the company’s annual kids’ day, which in the past has included everything from custom cape-making to face painting to magic shows (her favorite). And every time Wave sees a movie trailer that includes the string of silver stars wrapping over Paramount’s iconic mountain, she screams at the TV: “My dad works for them!” She’s 8 years old, and from her point of view, I have the coolest job in the world, for all of these reasons and more.
From a grown-up’s point of view, the benefits of working for Viacom are a bit different: strong work-life balance, a companywide commitment to social responsibility, and a day-to-day workplace that is widely acknowledged as being one of the best around.
But as a father, there are particular benefits that I really prize, like a discount on back-to-school supplies through our ParentHood employee resource group. This and other benefits tailored to the working parent helped Viacom land on the Fatherly blog’s list of best places to work for new dads.
“In 2016, it doesn’t matter if you work in finance, pharmaceuticals, tech, or retail: more men are demanding that companies take their role as fathers seriously, and more industries are responding,” the blog writes.
Viacom is most certainly one of those companies. Other dads I’ve talked to especially appreciate the company’s adoption assistance program. And I think all of us – my daughter especially – relish the free screenings of the SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows before they even dropped in theaters.
There is one benefit I prize above all, however: back-up daycare. It’s subsidized. It’s set in a clean, bright space. And it’s right across the street from our office.
Given that Waverly’s school has embraced the element of surprise as a core component of its staff development day scheduling policy – rather than including them on the school calendar that is posted online and distributed to all at the beginning of the school year – it has been especially useful to have a place to drop her when grandma and grandpa are still in Florida and I have already used up all of my days off for the year on ski trips and tours of Southeast Asia.
And when the kid is waylaid for a couple of days by whatever the infection-of-the-moment is, the back-up daycare administrator offers a very affordable in-home sick-care option that sends a vetted babysitter to my home to watch her while I zoom off to my meetings. In a city like New York, where even something as simple as carting your child to the grocery store can be a titanic logistical operation, the freedom to simply walk onto the subway and ride to work, knowing that your kid will be well taken care of, feels impossibly liberating.
That the company made Fatherly’s list is pretty awesome, but in truth, these benefits make Viacom a pretty great place for moms too, and the company has made Working Mother’s list of 100 best companies for five consecutive years.
But possibly the best benefit of all is something I’ll be able to take advantage of in just a few months – my wife and I are expecting a son at the end of November, and Viacom offers four weeks of paid paternity leave so that new dads can enjoy that fleeting time with their families.