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Supporting Our Associates Through Life’s Biggest Moments

At Gartner, we support the physical, financial and emotional well-being of our associates. So that you can live well — especially during some of life’s biggest moments. Meet Matthias Graf, a Senior Director, Analyst working in Hamburg, Germany. Below, he shares about how his team has supported him as he gears up to take parental leave following the birth of his son. 

October 05, 2020

I’ve always considered my wife and I to be career-oriented and driven to succeed in a corporate setting but it was always clear that we wanted more outside of just our professional lives. We knew that we wanted to start a family. 

While in many households across the world, mothers are still the primary caretakers of children, my wife and I knew early on that we wanted to try a model where we both equally contributed to raising our child while working. 

As the son of parents of 4 boys, I have always deeply respected how much of a toll taking care of a child can have when you are working a full-time job. Luckily, German law is among some of the most progressive in the world: Parental leave is a period of up to 36 months of unpaid leave from work after the birth of your child. 

My wife and I decided to take 12 months of leave and split the time equally among us. She was able to stay home with our son for the first 6 months, and I will soon take over for the next 6. Thanks to the tremendous support I’ve received from my team, I have felt totally comfortable as I prepare to take this time away from work in the coming weeks. 

So, what am I looking forward to the most? 

  • Bonding with my son early on: I want to form a relationship with our son as quickly as possible to make sure that he is accepting me in taking care of him as much as my wife and responds to me in a similar ways
  • Supporting my wife in driving her career: I want my wife to have equal career opportunities, so I do my best to make sure she knows I fully support her as she pursues her career. In our family, we value hard work and career ambition, thus going to work is an integral part of our life.
  • Setting an example for others: Recognizing that many fathers just cannot afford to stay at home, I nevertheless want to set an example for those who could. If you want to see a change in society’s view on parenting you have to stand up and lead.

It is Gartner’s strong culture and true commitment to its associates that has helped to make this transition all the better for me and my family. My manager didn’t question my decision for a second, but immediately strategized how to make it happen – we even have a plan of action for my return solidified. My team will be taking over my tasks, while one of my closest peers will be serving as their coach while I am away. 

While I was nervous to think about leaving my job, Gartner made it as easy and pleasant as possible. Getting the support I need to leave, while being re-assured of my place after I come back really lets me appreciate the organization, my peers and team. Now, I cannot wait to spend time with my son. 

Learn more about Gartner’s comprehensive approach to benefits here.