The Positive Side to Saying No

May 09, 2023

During this challenging personal time, I received nothing but support from my Paylocity leaders.

Michael Rooney Headshot

By: Michael Rooney

Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, Paylocity

In my more than eight years at Paylocity, I have always aimed to say yes. Need someone to test a new product? Let me at it! Have a new assignment that needs working on? Let’s do it! Be onsite to assist with a client visit? I’m there! But recently, for the first time in my career, I’ve taken a step back and realized I have to start saying no.

Personally, it was a no-brainer. It was about this time last year when I shared with my team a huge life event — my wife and I were not only expecting one new addition to our family, but two! In early August, my son and daughter were born 12 weeks early. My son was the first to be discharged in late October and my daughter in mid-November. Combined, they spent over 150 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

During this challenging time, I received nothing but support from my Paylocity leaders. Whether it was additional resources to complete a project or extra time off for hospital visits, they understood I needed to split my time between work and my personal life.

My paid parental leave started in November and from the beginning, I went through a range of emotions. Not only was I adapting to becoming a new father of newborn twins, but I was also adjusting to taking extended time off from work – the most I had taken in the past was a week of vacation! My wife and children displayed so much strength during this time and made me stronger even on days when I didn’t think I could do it.

I’m often asked when talking to candidates about joining Paylocity, why I’ve stayed for almost a decade. My response used to revolve around the growth I’ve experienced, the exciting opportunities I’ve been given, and the fast-paced work environment. But my answer has changed in this last year. Now I talk about the gift of time and flexibility – juggling phone screens so I could spend more time at the hospital when my daughter was sick or getting my son comfortable eating a bottle instead of through a tube. Those six weeks of parental leave were the greatest gift of time that allowed me to focus on my family.

My Paylocity teammates and leaders’ support allowed me to be the best husband and father I could be, not just an employee. And while it wasn’t time off in the traditional sense - I traded one job for another; late-night feedings, two babies in each arm so my wife could sleep for a few consecutive hours – it’s the most beneficial time I allowed myself to have since starting my career.

Find your support system. That’s my suggestion for anyone who is experiencing a life-changing event. For me, it was my wife. My family. My friends. People I could joke with, ask questions of, or just vent to. This story, this thank you, is for my wife. The person who helped me each day by just showing up. Whenever I asked if it was going to be okay, she helped me say yes.