Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

There's a certain dichotomy at the heart of tech companies.

Their leaders often enjoy a grasp of human feelings that's as firm as Donald Trump's grasp of altruism.

Yet when it comes to the way they treat employees, they come over all touchy-feely.

Free gourmet meals. Free bicycles. Free ping-pong tables. 

And all so that tech companies can help keep humanity in digital captivity.

The latest perk, though, is likely to divide sentiments.

As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, some companies are offering Pawternity Leave.

Yes, I spelled that correctly.

This is paternity leave for pet owners. 

Paid paternity leave, that is.

I can see those who don't even get paid paternity leave for a human offspring snort with perturbation.

A mere 14 percent of Americans get any family leave at all. The US is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't mandate paid parental leave.

Worse, many moms are so worried about losing their jobs that they cut short what paltry maternity leave they have -- and it's very often unpaid.

This is what Europeans might call uncivilized.

Why, in Norway, paid parental leave is 46 weeks. Actually, you can take 56 weeks at 80 percent pay if the 46 weeks aren't quite enough.

Some will notice that Norway's economy isn't quite in dire straits. Yes, its wheels are oiled, but still.

But let's get back to your pets. 

They are, for most people, an extremely emotional subject. 

Recently, I witnessed a first-time puppy owner fawn all over their new four-legged child, as if it was the product of some immaculate conception that had left David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson bereft of lines.

Here, though, is what Laurel Peppino, head of talent acquisition at software company mParticle, told the Journal: "We offer maternity and paternity leave and a pet is just another member of the family. We don't discriminate just because they aren't human."

mParticle's generosity extends, apparently, even to those adopting more exotic beasts, such as iguanas.

Perhaps this merely goes to describe the vast gulf between the have-a-lots and the don't-have-much-at-alls. 

I have, though, another kink to add.

It seems that much of the drive toward Pawternity Leave comes from tech companies based in New York.

Might this be a very sane recognition that real, satisfying human relationships that lead to stable families are largely impossible in New York? 

Published on: Jan 8, 2018