Meet Jolanta, a dedicated Data Quality Assurance Manager who is a part of the ANIXE team for over a decade. Her children have grown alongside her career, and today she leads a team with her wealth of experience. In this interview, Jolanta shares her experiences and reflections on how ANIXE has supported her through her journey as a working mother.
At what stage of professional development did your children appear? What were you doing then?
I have worked in the IT industry in the same company for eleven years. My children appeared at various stages of leading the team I manage today. Previously, I worked in an office and a company conducting vocational courses.
How did your supervisor react to the news of parenthood?
Each time my supervisor found out about the upcoming changes in my private life, she showed calmness and support, which she also showed in the more difficult moments of pregnancy. In addition, I never had problems with going to the necessary tests during work, which was also very helpful.
How did your team react?
Over the years, the team changed, but each reacted very positively. The teams were prepared for my absence, but the employees knew they could count on me in case of need. I advised during parental leave on more complex issues, but I had no problem with it because I like my job.
How much parental leave have you used in total? How was it received in the company?
I used all my parental leave. On behalf of the company, no one has ever objected to this subject. In addition, I used only a little sick leave during each pregnancy because I felt good, and the work environment was and is friendly to me. I gave birth to my first son in 2015, the second in 2017, and the third in 2019, which allowed me to return to work between births for about a year. Thanks to such a solution, I always remained close to the company, and after my return, I was welcomed by the other employees 'like home'.
What holiday plans did you have, and did they change after having a baby?
Before my first childbirth, I thought I would return to work soon, but upon meeting my son, I decided it was worth staying home and using full-time leave. With my two later pregnancies, I did not think twice - I at once assumed that full-time maternity leave would allow me to set up a stable relationship with my child, and also let me rest after pregnancy and childbirth. It is also a proper time to get to grips with the new situation with the child next to us – it is extremely important.
What has changed after returning from parental leave? How did your employer support or hinder you in your new duo role?
After returning from parental leave, nothing has changed. My return was always associated with smiles on the faces of co-workers. Each time, the employer offered a period to get used to and learn about the new processes introduced in the company. I quickly returned to my old role - but also, as I mentioned - I did not cut myself off from the company while on leave. Of course, I did not perform any tasks and was more of an advisory voice - when needed. I worked for a long-time during pregnancy because I felt good. Moreover, having active contact with people from work, added me wings then. I am such a lucky person to work in an environment where I can confidently name my co-workers as close colleagues.
What does the combination of roles look like now? Is it easy to take advantage of additional days off if necessary?
Combining professional work with caring for such a group of boys can be challenging. After the birth of my third son, I decided to work part-time (7/8 full-time) to organize the house more efficiently, pick up the children, take care of their extracurricular activities, etc. The possibility of working from home is also beneficial - although I live across the street from our office, I always say that even 5 minutes matter. Currently, I work four days from home and one day from the office, and this is the absolute best solution because personal contacts with colleagues are also vital. In my opinion, it is still a big challenge to find the right balance between being a mother and an employee - as they say - a mother, which works is bad because she does not have enough time for her children, and a bad one is also the one who does not work because she does not show her children that she can. Each of us has to work it out inside ourselves - I try to work at the highest speed both at work and at home, enjoying small successes (even folding the laundry from the whole week is a great success ) and rewarding myself with my pleasures (a cup of coffee in solitude with an enjoyable album - I don't have time to read a novel - in my hand helps to clear my mind and gather a lot of energy for the next moments). As for the extra days off, I don't use them. My husband and I decided that he would use them in emergencies.
What was the most problematic relationship between the Employer and me, the parent, in the first years of parenthood?
I had no problems with my first child. My husband and I at once decided that our son would go to nursery after he turned one. One of us took him to the nursery, and the other picked him up. We both assume that a nursery or kindergarten - currently also a school - is not a job; children should not spend the entire day there if their parents can pick them up sooner. With two children, the stairs start because you must go to 2 different places (e.g. nursery and kindergarten), which already takes more time. At this stage, the company did not offer the possibility of remote work in my team, so it was not easy. The pandemic positively changed this aspect, and now there is no problem with remote work, which makes it easier to organize a large family. Often my husband picks up the boys, and I finish work and cook dinner right away because e.g. the boys have training in an hour.
How has parenting influenced your professional development?
I still work in the same position because I like my job and the people around me. However, each return from leave after the birth of a child requires development from us because the company is changing. In addition, parenting shows that you can do much more in a much shorter time and skilfully prioritize tasks. Once, one of my friends told me that a parent is a perfect employee because she knows what she comes to work for - to concentrate on doing her job and then return home without baggage in her mind - and there is something to it.
Have new competencies appeared in you in connection with combining professional roles with parenthood?
As I mentioned earlier, organizational skills have developed significantly. In addition, the ability to set priorities has improved. Self-esteem and faith in my professional knowledge also increased - but it is possible that the time just made it.
Are there any specific employer solutions addressed to parents that you consider very valuable from the perspective of a parent specialist?
Of course, the possibility of working remotely. In addition, in my company, you can bring your child to work in crisis situations. Sometimes we see children running through the office or playing on PlayStation, which only makes us smile. From the beginning of my work in this place, office hours were clearly defined: 10-14, the remaining working time I can adjust to my needs - I usually start work at seven and finish at 14. However, when I need to take my son to school at 9 o'clock, no one does not mind that I will be at work at 10. Adjusting working hours to the employee's lifestyle significantly affects his efficiency and satisfaction.
Are there any trends in systemic, benefit, or regulatory solutions that you would encourage every employer from the perspective of a parent specialist?
Definitely - if possible - offering the opportunity to work from home with flexible hours.
In retrospect, what advice would you give to young parents-specialists? What has this time taught you?
I gave birth to my first son at 30 - I consider it a perfect moment because, after my studies, I gained professional experience and took advantage of life alone. The arrival of a child significantly changes the world - I consciously say 'changes' because it simply becomes different. I strongly recommend young parents make choices about both their family and work by themselves - listening to the advisory voices of those around them but choosing only a few of them that resonate with our vision of the world.Due to my experience, young mothers ask me various questions about pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare. I always try to present the solutions I use honestly, but I also say - make it suitable for you, remembering that if you do not clean up, nothing will happen - I came to this only with my third son. Organizing a home with a child takes time, and I often do not have time for it now because talking and time spent with the child is more important than a clean floor.