Part time manager.

I have two sons, aged six and nine, and work part time as a manager. This demands good planning and a lot of ability to organize. I am lucky that both sets of grandparents live nearby and support me with child care. In spite of this, I and my family and also my employer have to be prepared to show flexibility when something happens which has not been planned.

That works very well at RKW. My boss tries to schedule things which can be planned so that they happen during my working hours and there is only a need to call me outside of my working hours when it is absolutely necessary. This consideration is a form of respect for me. In contrast, I am also flexible if, e.g., there are deadlines, longer meetings, or business trips. I then organize the corresponding child care so that I can stay at the office for longer. This is where the grandparents jump in, or a friend who also has a child and who I also help out in emergencies. Usually it is easy to plan, but sometimes you also quickly have to find a plan B at short notice.

The subject of delegation is also another important issue. I have a very good team that can keep the day-to-day business running smoothly, even if I happen not to be at work. The colleagues are well-trained and know how much they can decide for themselves and when they need to contact me. And in these situations, I can also be reached on the telephone outside of my regular working hours. In such situations, plan B needs to kick in. For matters which are less urgent, an email is enough and I deal with it in the evenings when the children are in bed, or the next day in the office.

For me it is not a sign of success if you spend 70 hours a week and longer in the office, but rather if you are effective and can achieve something during your working hours. To me, success also means investing the time in the really important things, both professionally and in your private life. And also that you enjoy what you are doing.

A good example sets a precedent.

Part time employees in positions of leadership are still not provided for in many companies. Even at RKW, “parents working part time” are relatively rare. I try to provide suitable schemes for other mothers or fathers wherever it is possible.

It works!

My position was actually also a full time post. They were looking for a commercial manager, responsible for controlling, finances, and human resources. I applied anyway suggesting that the finances/controlling and human resources positions were split and allocated to two people. At first, RKW decided against it because there did not seem to be an opportunity for putting this idea into practice. However, the advantages of this scheme were seen at a later stage. They interviewed me and I was appointed for the part time post as Head of Human Resources.

Shirt sleeves instead of pompous titles.

At RKW, the managerial staff do not define themselves solely through the most complicated titles possible. I am happy that it is not so dependent upon having an important-sounding title. This does not represent a person’s success. It is more important what you can get done and that you have interesting work that you can be part of and where you can develop. We need people who “do” things and want to get something done, who enjoy their work and not their title.

We are a location that produces things. Communication is mostly very direct. You need to have a certain degree of self-confidence, especially as a woman. But most conflicts can be resolved well through dialog and the relevant moderation. Paternal leave, for example, is a regular issue. Spring and summer are our busiest times. If a young father drops out of the production work for two months, which is difficult for us to cover. We often find a compromise even here. One month at the birth and the second later, in autumn or winter.