Embracing change as a working parent - Andrew

Culture · Oct 17, 2019

Over the last few months, we have launched our three-part series about embracing change as a working parent.

“We want team members of all ages who are in different life stages to know that they have equal opportunities to excel in their role, regardless of their commitments outside of the office. For us, this means building a culture that understands and respects the time they may need to spend with their families. We wanted to spend some time to reflect on real working parents in our own team and share some of their experiences.” - TELUS Digital

For our final installment in our “working parent” series, we are excited to introduce Andrew Douglas, Manager of  TELUS Design System & Content Platforms, as he shares his experience as a working parent here at TELUS. 

Andrew Douglas, Manager, TDS & Content Platforms, father of 2

As a father of two, my experience on paternal leave was unique. From April to June 2019, I was able to help my wife with taking on some of the workload with our daughter (age 3) and son (age 1). Having young children and juggling a full-time career can be difficult. During my time off, I gained a new perspective: there are many similarities between the lessons learnt during my career and those being a parent. 

Even though I am still learning on the go, here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

Consistency & Support

As a parent, you begin to understand and see the importance of consistency and support. When you have children, you need to provide a sense of consistency and support as they continue to grow. I feel that these two qualities are interchangeable between relationships in your life, such as with your partner and career. Of course, this does not come easy and it is something that you need to work on time over time. Definitions of this can vary from situation to situation but you learn how to modify this to support your children vs your team. I would say being a parent has allowed me to grow this skill set and transfer it to my role at TELUS. Allowing others to know you are there to support them whenever they need is so significant for growth.

Andrew Douglas and family

“There’s no I in team”: Teamwork & Flexibility 

Each day presents new challenges and when you have children, you learn to understand and appreciate flexibility even more. Working at an organization like TELUS Digital has allowed me to be flexible with responsibilities outside of my job.  My wife and I have full-time careers so it can be difficult to juggle two careers and two young children. This flexibility has also allowed me to maintain and grow my career within my own version of the classic “9-5.”. 

After my wife’s maternity leave, she went back to work and wanted to push her career forward. I supported this and stepped in to help with parenting responsibilities to take the load off of her. During this time, I learned how to work around my children’s schedule. For example, I worked around my son’s napping schedule which became an important part of my day. Since I have been back at work, I am able to plan my day around my children such as dropping off and picking them up. These little things have allowed me to structure my day accordingly to ensure I can fulfill my responsibilities between work and being a dad.

My wife and I worked together to find a solution that allowed her to continue her career while I stayed home with the kids. Many people may not think of parenting as “teamwork” but in reality, acknowledging that you have pillars of support to lean on and help you take on challenges is massive. 

Andrew Douglas and family

Work-Life Balance is Key 

Work-life balance is still an area that many haven’t perfected yet. By taking paternity leave, I was able to experience this first-hand. Your career is important but you quickly learn that time management equally plays a big factor. Stepping away from the computer/phone and doing simple things like going for a walk with my family or spending time with my wife is so important. Working for a company that supports these components makes all the difference with the experience of having a growing career while raising a family. 

Being a dad has provided me with a new perspective on how to grow not only as a parent but also as a manager and colleague. You don’t learn this overnight but it's important to step back and trust the learning experience. TELUS Digital gave me the opportunity to step to take time aside from work which has led me to broaden my perspectives. 

Andrew Douglas and family
Authored by:
Andrew Douglas
Andrew Douglas
12 years of designing products & strategy for millions of users. I’ve worked for some of the biggest global companies shipping human centered products with velocity, purpose and measured ROI.