Parental Leave as a Relevant Work Experience

Karel Mazánek
30. 6. 2021

If I observe any change in the world of work compared to the situation before the pandemic, it is clearly the “humanization” of our statuses as managers, leaders and people in other top positions. Thanks to the pandemic and the forced home office, we suddenly realized that our director is a father of 3 children who sometimes look curiously into the camera during the morning meeting. We saw the paintings in his living room, and sometimes  some more interesting or funny parts of his interior. Even though most employees return to the office, this feeling of “getting closer” still remains.

The “humanization” is good news. I am convinced that the only possible way to achieve a long-term feeling of job satisfaction is to combine work activities with the family ones. Trying to find ways for these two important parts of our lives to work in harmony. Not just next to each other.

However, in the context of  harmony in our personal and professional lives, I am still somewhat surprised by the fact that staying at home with children, for however long part of their earliest development, will go unnoticed in our CV, stated in two simple words: “parental leave”. While we have tried to define and describe our main responsibilities and activities in previous positions, we do not even think of that in our positions as parents.

Having described the activities performed also means thinking about what I learned during that time and thus, what I can offer to potential employers thanks to it. Skills such as patience, adaptability, time planning, multi-tasking, or problem-solving  are competencies without which no mother would survive her ‘parental leave’. Why don’t we mention it in our resume? Why don’t we speak about our improved ability to focus on the task despite the disruptive elements that affect us? Parental leave will not make us a better nuclear physicist, but it could make us better managers. Let’s just look at it all from a slightly different perspective. At a time when studies have shown that post-parental workers have lower wages than their childless counterparts, a change in the “presentation” of this life period is needed more than ever.

This topic occurred to me whilst at a meeting with one successful business owner and CEO, who mentioned in our discussion that an ideal candidate for the newly opened position of Operations Director should be a mother after her maternal leave. That is, a capable manager who can set up some order. We should dare to think differently. Staying at home with children not only helps personal development, but can also help the professional one. This is even more true at a time when you can make a living even as a youtuber, where the added value for society is next to zero. I see no reason not to sell my advanced soft skills in the labor market in the role of a parent, a role so essential for healthy development of society.