How SilverRail's Flexibility and Parental Leave Policy Made the Biggest Year of My Life So Much Easiere's a
Written by Will J
Some years ago, when I was first training for a job in recruitment, one of my coaches taught me a valuable insight. The three biggest changes most people will go through in life are starting a family, moving house and switching jobs; and usually, someone won’t want to go through more than one of these at a time.
Through a combination of factors, this last year my partner and I have gone through the first two of these changes. My daughter was born in April last year, and the following February we moved house – in fact we moved to a new country entirely!
Despite the upheavals, we both wanted to have equal time off work to take care of our daughter during her first year. It was decided that after the initial fortnight of both being at home with the new baby, my partner would take the first six months off work, and it would be my turn to be a full-time parent for the second six months.
Not all companies would help facilitate such an arrangement. So I feel lucky to work for SilverRail, which wholeheartedly supported me in this, and offers a parental leave policy that made it possible.
As any parent will know, that first couple of weeks is all hands on deck. And as much as you can read the books, attend the classes and listen to the advice you’re given, there is nothing that can really prepare you for it.
After that early period I was back to my job, but working flexibly (SilverRail is a Flexa-accredited employer) and remotely made the transition into parenthood so much smoother than it could have been, for both me and my partner. Our parents, remembering the days of long commutes to the office five days a week, were all rather envious.
In those first six months, time seemed to move both incredibly fast and remarkably slow. So much changed and so much happened among the sleepless nights, constant feeding and endless nappy changes. It wasn’t easy, but it was always vital to take stock and appreciate the amazing little life that we’d brought into the world.
As it became time for me to take my share of the parental leave, the strangeness of what was about to occur set in. Like many people, I had never had such a prolonged period away from work or study since I was a teenager. Yet I also knew that the effort that would go into looking after my daughter, the 24/7 nature of it and the total investment of myself into it, would be far more intense than any job I’ve ever done.
And yes, it was hard work, but not in the way a job or study is. It was a change of lifestyle, a change in mentality, and it took some getting used to. But in those six months, seeing her grow from a baby into a toddler, helping her learn to stand, walk, dance and play, was simply incredible.
Amongst all this had been planning for our re-location to Sweden from the UK. With a month left of my parental leave, the three of us hopped onto a plane, our belongings on their way in a lorry, and we headed to our new home.
A month of settling in and discovering our new city together was fantastic, and while I’m sad to no longer be a full-time dad it felt like a nice time to go back to work. Once again, working from home and being able to flex my hours when needed is amazing. Because that tiny baby daughter is now a rampaging, energetic and fun-filled toddler. As they say, the best is yet to come…
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