Every year on the 15th of May, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Families. This year, we are celebrating this day as well by recognising all the working mums and dads at BOQ.
BOQ is proud to be a flexible employer, which allows working parents make work ‘work’ for them.
Over the last week, we took a moment to chat to four working parents from our Brisbane head-office – Mal Crispe (MC) who works for the Managing Director and CEO Jon Sutton as his Executive Manager. Renee Johns (RJ) who is a Retail Change and Communications Officer in our Retail Banking team. Mia Brieschke (MB) who works in the Rewards and Benefits / VISION Implementation team that is part of People & Culture. And Anthony Ingeri (AI) who is a Program Manager of our Customer Engagement Platform in our Transformation team.
Firstly, how many children do you have and how old are they?
MC: I have three children, who are 11, 9 and 9 (yep, they’re twins – identical twins in fact and I can’t tell them apart. Neither can my son who just refers to them both as the collective Ella-Jess)
RJ: I just have one little boy, my son Max is 2.5 years old.
MB: I have three children, who are 13, 15, and 17 years old.
AI: I have two girls, they are 6 and 8 years old.
Do you take advantage of BOQ’s flexible working policy?
MC: No, I don’t actually.
RJ: Yes definitely – I’ve done so since I returned to work from maternity leave.
MB: I do, I normally work-from-home most Thursdays.
AI: Yes, my family always comes first and leveraging the flexibility that BOQ offers means I don’t miss out on special occasions at school or at home.
Did you know of BOQ’s flexible working policy before you began working for BOQ? Did it impact your decision to apply or accept your position at BOQ?
MC: I did not know about the policy before joining, however I have always found the business supportive of my work/life balance.
RJ: I started working at BOQ 11 years ago, and the policy was only introduced a few years ago.
MB: No, when I started with BOQ there was no flexible working policy or the technology to support a work-from-home function.
AI: Yes, I knew a little and discussed the policy during my initial interview. It was one of the determining factors for me to join BOQ.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a parent and working full-time / part-time?
MC: The most challenging part is accepting that I will always miss out on something the kids are doing. I am fortunate though that my wife is able to stay at home and look after them, pick them up from school, etc.
RJ: To be honest, it’s hard finding time for myself. When I leave work, my brain switches into “Mum” mode and vice versa!
MB: For me the most challenging aspect is to ensure I’m always organised and constantly finding the right balance of profession and parenthood. Also, organising school holidays, although it is getting easier as the kids are getting older.
AI: Balance – being mindful that when I am at home my family deserve nothing less than my undivided attention.
What’s the best and the craziest parts of your day?
MC: Life’s not too crazy now as the kids can bath and feed themselves. Best part of the day would have to be the small window of time you get to yourself just after the kids have (finally) gone to sleep.
RJ: Craziest by far is the early morning rush, to get Max ready for day care and then get to work. However, the flexible working policy means that days I can log on from home are a lot less rushed and stressful. Best part of my day is finishing work and picking Max up from day care and seeing his smiley little face light up when I arrive.
MB: Best part is when we all sit down and have dinner together, I love our banter and conversations at the dinner table. Even though we are all pretty organised, mornings are still crazy, someone always has something that needs ironing or clothes in the washing machine. I have been seen drying clothes from my car window while driving the kids to the train.
AI: Most mornings I do a boot-camp before 6am and can be seen doing burpees up local hills; sometimes I see a few early starters asking what is wrong with me. Yes it’s crazy, but it keeps me in good physical and mental balance to give me the best opportunity to be responsive and flexible to what life can serve up.
What advice would you give to someone whose career is taking off and they’re thinking about having kids?
MC: Be there for your partner. Having children starts well before the actual birth. I didn’t really have any emotional connections in those early trimesters but not everything goes to plan.
RJ: Don’t hold back. Having a child is by far my greatest achievement and in this day-and-age, coming back into the work force and following your dreams is definitely achievable – even more so when your employer is an advocate for flexible working.
MB: My advice is that it will take a settling in period to establish the routine. Also, make sure that you keep doing something for yourself outside of work; exercise, a hobby or a regular catch up with a friend. If you can, outsource a household job, so your weekends aren’t cluttered with domestic tasks.
AI: It’s a choice for only you and your partner to make, but it’s important to think of what will you be measured by and what will you be remembered for…the person who did great PowerPoint slides and always hit their targets or something else?
What’s the best work advice you’ve ever received?
MC: Do it. And that’s the same advice my father gave me. There will always be something that gets in the way. A new job, new house, a holiday, the need to save money. The reality is you adapt and deal with what life throws at you. I really found my priorities changed when Renee and I had kids and I haven’t looked back since.
RJ: Work is a huge part of your life, so love what you do.
MB: Set your own boundaries, no one is going to do it for you (I’m still working on that). Also I think it is great if your children are able to visit where you actually work and meet some of your work colleagues if possible. This brings your two worlds together and establishes that connection.
AI: Once when I was enveloped in self-doubt about a role I was told – sometimes you have to fake it before you make it.
Thank you to each of our interviewees for sharing your experiences as parents in the workforce.