Who do you care for and what do you find most rewarding about it?
I have two little boys aged 5 and 21/2 years old. Looking after two little angels is the best part of being a carer. The love that I receive from them is priceless.
What does your role involve?
I collaborate and communicate with most of the areas within the university such as HR, Payroll, IT, Finance, Faculties and Research office. I have to make sure HR systems are aligned with the university needs and strategies. What I enjoy about my job is that it is not too much IT focus and not too much people focus but in between. I make sure people and systems can talk to each other.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a carer and also having a career?
Me and my husband don’t have any family members in Australia therefore we don’t have the family support. When it comes to looking after our kids as well as committed to have a successful career the challenge begins.
After my first kid I returned to work full time, I remember I felt guilty that he had to go to childcare from 8 am to 6 pm every day. I could see how tired and miserable he was when I picked him up. Also, the first year he used to get sick a lot and my husband and I had to take time off from work almost every week to look after him. On the other hand being away from work for a year during the parental leave and coming back to work felt like I was a new starter. Some restructures and other changes happened during the time I was off. A few new systems and processes were introduced. I felt like I needed to start to build my relationship with my colleagues again. I also felt I had missed opportunities for my career development because I was not present at the organisation when the changes happened.
What are some of the strategies that you’ve used to overcome these challenges and what have the impacts for you been both personally and professionally?
After my second child I could not imagine working full time with two little kids. I couldn’t accept the fact that my kids are growing up and I am missing this precious time with them. I decided to come back to work part time. But the childcare fees for two kids and me working part time made me think about becoming a stay at home mum. The other option was to look for a job with higher salary. I applied for few jobs and I had an offer. The office location was in the city. That meant I had to spend 3 hours every day in the traffic commuting to the city. At the same time I reached ten years of service at Macquarie University which meant I was eligible for long service leave. I contacted my manger to ask if I can work 3 days a week and take 2 days long service leave, and my manager kindly agreed to this.
How has Macquarie University supported you?
When I joined Macquarie I had six years of service from another Australian university. The first benefit that Macquarie offered me was to recognise my previous service. The second benefit was Macquarie’s generous parental leave. This gives the new parents peace of mind to enjoy their time with their little ones. The most benefit that Macquarie offered me was letting me to use my long service leave 2 days per week. I get to spend more time with my family, and also get the financial benefit. I also have noticed that my second child doesn’t get sick as much as my first child used to. I think it is because he goes to childcare only 3 days per week. He may catch a bug from child care but because he spends 4 days at home he has time to recover. Therefore I have not taken much time off from work to look after him. On the other hand career wise, when I came back from parental leave, I have asked to attend few training courses to refresh my skills. I also asked to participate in the conferences, which were kindly accepted by my manager.
What are your top tips for other employees who have caring responsibilities and also want to have fulfilling and rewarding careers?
I guess one tip is while on parental leave keep contact with their colleagues. Keeping the connection and relationship will help them to know what is happening at the workplace while they are on leave. Second tip is to read the Enterprise Agreement to know their rights and obligations. This will help them to plan their family responsibilities and career development properly. Third tip is once they are back to work, they need to work harder to fill the gap. They were absence from the workplace and things might have changed. They need to adopt the changes.