Heute durfte ich mit Nuno Monteiro sprechen. Er ist Vollblutpersonaler schon seit 15 Jahren und durfte schon in einige Firmen in Europa und Asien reinschauen. Aktuell führt er das Personalteam von Mimacom Flowable Group, einem Beratungsunternehmen für Softwarelösungen. Die Frauenquote in seinem Team ist spiegelverkehrt zu dem Rest des Unternehmens und bei ihm ist eigentlich immer jemand schwanger.
Lieber Nuno, ich kenn dich ja ein bisschen, wir haben vor ungefähr 5 Jahre zusammengearbeitet. Schön, dass du dir heute Zeit für YourHappyBox und das Thema Frauen in der Arbeitswelt nimmst. Erzähl doch kurz ein bisschen von dir, sodass unser Leser sich ein Bild machen kann.
Ja sehr gern sogar. Ich bin schon seit Anfang an mit Herz und Seele Personaler. Die 1. Hälfte meiner bisherigen Karriere habe ich in Asien verbracht und bin nun seit rund 7 Jahren in der Schweiz. In meiner aktuellen Position bei mimacom bin ich ein knappes Jahr und super happy, dass ich mich hier voll entfalten kann. Die Personalentwicklung ist für mich das Spannendste an meinem Job, denn ich bin fest überzeugt, dass nur glückliche Mitarbeiter auch wirklich produktiv sind. Deshalb gibt es in meinem Team eine Chief Happiness Officer, das ist mehr als nur ein fancy Titel, denn für uns als Beratungsunternehmen sind unsere Mitarbeiter unser wichtigstes Gut. Wir sind aktuell in der glücklichen Lage, dass wir viele spannende Aufträge und Kunden haben und jeder zusätzlicher Mitarbeiter*in bedeutet, dass wir mehr Projekte abwickeln können.
Nun besteht dein Team meistens aus Frauen, wie sehr wird dein Alltag durch Schwangerschaft beeinflusst?
Naturgemäss halt oft. Ich arbeite viel mit jungen Menschen zusammen und wie in vielen HR teams sind ein grosser Teil meines Teams Frauen. Gerade dieses Jahr sind zwei meiner Teammitglieder schwanger geworden — und haben vor Kurzem ihre Kinder gesund zur Welt gebracht”
Wie bist du damit umgegangen?
Ach, ich finde da gibt es nur eine Art mit umzugehen. Freude für die Mitarbeiterin. Ist es für mich doof? Ja logisch. Die Mitarbeiterin wurde für eine bestimmte Stelle eingestellt und die Arbeit bleibt ja weiterhin. Aber ich finde du musst dich als Chef immer daran erinnern, dass hinter der Person ein Leben steckt. Für mich war es unglaublich erschreckend zu sehen, wie viel Panik meine Mitarbeiterinnen hatten mir das mitzuteilen. Dabei ist es einfach etwas Natürliches und ehrlich gesagt kann man alles organisieren. In der Schweiz sind die Mütter in der Regel etwas kürzer in Mutterschaft als in Deutschland. Da kann es schon sein, dass man eine Stelle nochmals neu besetzen muss und dann sich neu aufstellt, wenn die Mitarbeiterin beispielsweise nach 2 Jahren wieder zurückkehrt.
Was würdest du Frauen empfehlen für die Kinderplanung und den Umgang mit Familie und Beruf?
Also aus meiner limitierten Sicht, ich bin weder eine Frau noch habe ich Kinder, kann ich nur mitgeben was es mir als Personaler besonders einfach macht. Wenn die Frau für sich entscheidet, was sie gerne möchte und das dann auch transparent kommuniziert. Dann habe ich nämlich einen klaren Standpunkt und kann drum herum planen. Dabei ist es mir egal ob meine Mitarbeiterin 4 Monate oder 3 Jahre in Mutterschaft bleibt. Es gibt meiner Meinung nach kein falsch oder richtig. Frauen und ihre Partner müssen entscheiden, was für sie richtig ist und dann los. Darauf können wir uns dann super einstellen und anpassen.
Was gefällt dir immer besonders gut, wenn du CVs bekommst von Müttern die gerade Auszeit vom Job genommen haben?
Ich finde es generell nicht so relevant, wenn man eine Auszeit für die Kinder genommen hat. Natürlich hängt das ein bisschen von der Dauer ab und was man noch gemacht hat, aber für mich sind die Erfahrungen vor dem Kind/ Kindern relevant. Ich bin immer schwer beeindruckt, wenn jemand präsent ist und sehr klar zu der Auszeit stehen kann. Ich werde ein bisschen nervös, wenn die Antworten ein «wischiwaschi» sind. Wenn ich nicht genau verstehe, ob sie jetzt eigentlich bei den Kindern bleiben wollte oder nicht. Ich bin nicht so Fan davon, wenn man die Zeit im CV als «CEO of family» beschreibt. Das verniedlicht das Ganze meiner Meinung nach zu stark. Aber ich finde in der Zeit macht man sehr viel, was wir sogenannte «transferable skills» nennen und das finde ich immer super, wenn die hervorgehoben werden. Meiner Meinung nach muss niemand sich während der Zeit weiterbilden, sondern kann sich auch ausschliesslich auf die Familie konzentrieren. Falls das aber gewünscht ist, gibt es so viele tolle, kürzere Weiterbildungen die super Sinn machen.
Was sind denn zusammenfassend deine Top-Tipps für werdende Mütter und auch immer mehr Väter im Umgang mit der Karriere und Familie?
Verkauft euch nicht unter Wert. Gerade nach einer Schwangerschaft/Auszeit. Seid genauso kritisch wie früher auch. Der Job muss passen und du dich darauf freuen
Involviert die Männerwelt in die Planung und Situation. Break the bias. Ich bin mir bewusst, dass es anstrengend ist, aber oft entstehen Situationen, die nicht schön sind. Das finde ich muss man hervorheben. Dann kann man ganz klar sagen was gerade nicht stimmt und wie es sich für euch anfühlt. Die nächste Person, die nicht in dieser Situation sein muss, wird es euch danken!
Zusammenhängend mit dem 2. Tipp – Sagt es so laut wie möglich, wenn es Firmen aktiv gut machen. Tauscht euch aus und stellt sicher, dass ihr die Firmen, die sich untragbar verhalten auf die «Black List» kommen.
Findet euren eigenen Weg und nimmt euch echten Rollmodel. Viel zu viel findet auf Social Media statt und man hat das Gefühl das sind alles Superhumans. Eure Vorbilder müssen zu euch und eurem Lebensplan passen und es viel einfach das gewünschte Leben zu Leben als etwas gestelltem hinterherzueilen.
Werdet alle Programmiererinnen und kommt zu mimacom 🙂
Weitere spannende Interviews zum Thema Karriere und Kind findet ihr hier.
Super exciting! My first interview with a man for YourHappyBox. This summer I got to know Gaëtan and his story is something that needs to be shared. Gaëtan is the very first Swiss male Doula and we spoke about his motivation to invest over 1000 hours into this training while actually being a lawyer.
Being a father of two changes you
First things first. What is a Doula? The short version of Wikipedia says: «A doula is a trained companion who is not a healthcare professional and who supports another person through childbirth». I, of course, wanted to understand what made Gaëtan decide to become such a trained companion. Gaëtan himself is a father of two and wants to be an equal parent. He and his wife experienced two very different pregnancies and birth stories. While the first one ended in an emergency C‑section, they both spent time preparing the 2nd birth to fulfil his wife’s wish for a natural vaginal birth. During this time, Gaëtan listened to a lot of fathers’ podcasts on the topic of becoming a father. A common conclusion of these podcasts was the lack of preparation for fathers who want to be an equal parent (or a parent at all). Subconsciously the idea for Papa Doula started to form.
How did he decide to become the first Swiss male Doula?
Having a PhD in law, a patent to practice law in Geneva, Gaëtan is well aware of how important it is for us to have a professional certificate to be recognized as legitimate. The first Doula training he wanted to join was absolutely impossible for him. The killing prerequisite was «having given birth yourself». However, once he found a training, he spent the next six month learning everything about the female body, pregnancy, childbirth and much more.
The feeling of being the only man in the room becomes normal
Being the only woman in the room so many times, I can imagine how Gaëtan felt when he walked in the Doula course room the first time. Addressing the elephant in the room and being the kind and friendly himself, he was quickly accepted. Throughout the training his vision of «Papa Doula» was formed further. Gaëtan developed a workshop for becoming fathers that covers in four sessions à 3hours the most important topics on pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum. The final session is an informal meeting of fathers after birth to share their experience among each other’s.
First training for father-to-be was a success
Gaëtan left his well paid, secure position in a law firm this year to make a difference for other fathers. He invested a lot of time in his first swiss male doula training and thought in how to be a good father himself, representing the «new generation» of fathers who want to be actively involved in their kids upbringing.
In June his first «Papa Doula» training was completed successfully. Gaëtan has many ideas and plans for «Papa Doula». We are looking forward to see his idea expand outside of Swiss Romandie to support fathers-to-be all over Switzerland.
Thank you Gaëtan for this wonderful insight into «Papa Doula». It is nice to see you making a difference in fathers education around pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum.
If you would like to learn more, please visit his website (in French) and follow him on Instagram.
More interviews with interesting personalities around pregnancy, childbirth, career and much more you find here.
Since starting «HappyBox» I had the chance to speak to so many inspiring women that I wished I spoke to before and during my pregnancy. One of these fascinating ladies is Catherine Leduc. She is a “job search & career Management Coach, so states her LinkedIn profile, but as you will read, she had many other hats on and some really good career advice for women during and after pregnancy that I am happy to share with you. Have fun reading & feel free to follow Catherine on LinkedIn or join one of the many networking events she is organising to make women stronger in the workplace.
Hi Catherine, thank you so much for taking the time today to speak about your journey and the lessons learned you take from the women you have been coaching through their balancing act of motherhood. Let’s jump right into it, tell us, is it true what people say, “women are not interested in their career anymore once they have babies”.
Maternity is the trigger point to reassess your values and needs
What I observe is that a lot of women come to a career crossroad during/ after maternity leave. Many of us decide on a course around our 20s and never actually reassess and redirect it but just keep drifting in that direction until something — like motherhood or burn out — becomes our wake-up call. For many this crossroad feels overwhelming and even scary but it’s actually an amazing opportunity to reconnect and do some self-work to understand of our values and boundaries may have shifted over time. That’s where a lot of women come to the conclusion that their previous work situation does not win in the “trade-off” assessment. It’s not so much that women are no longer interested in their work or career but if they are to leave the children with someone else in favour of going to work then they will often have higher expectations towards their work. Namely wanting more purpose, opportunities, and recognition or a more flexible and understanding culture and environment. They just won’t put up with the same stuff if they do so at the cost of missing on their children’s childhood. There is actually a lot of empowerments coming from this as many women then becoming much stronger advocates for themselves and that’s absolutely amazing!
Tip: Take time to assess your value and needs prior/ during maternity and make sure you set up your surroundings accordingly
Which indicators do you think women should look for to assess whether it is “just the hormones” as many people say after birth or whether they actually needs a change?
Most importantly, I think this has to do with being in touch with and listening to oneself and when you realise that you are not enjoying work nor parenthood despite really wanting it. There are ups and downs but if it is not balanced over a longer period, that is your indicator. For example, there are always situations at work when you need to put in more hours, have an important deadline, etc. You can rebalance and compensate that in the right environment. If not, you will have a constant feeling of guilt. Where you will not be able to live up to your own expectations towards anyone, also not yourself. A good test whether you should make changes is to set clear boundaries and communicate those accordingly. If your employer is not able or not willing to support this, then chances that you will be able to find yourself and find your balance between work and family is much lower. In the long run, this can be damageable to everyone, and this is what I believe is the first red flag that something may need to change.
Tip: Assessment of your current work/life situation. Are you happy (more often than not) at home and at work? If the answer is no: start thinking about what needs to change
You mention on your website that a lot of women go through a “Loss of personal identity” when becoming mother. What does it mean and what can we do about it?
Motherhood forces us to go get acquainted with ourselves again as it changes so many things. I personally wanted to stay at home longer than three months and I took that time. And despite wanting that, I found it difficult when I realised that I missed having discussions, interactions, and the learning opportunities found in the workplace and people interactions. There I lost a bit the feeling for who I was. I think it would have helped tremendously if I knew about it before and could have prepared for it. Even if you are not employed anymore, it does not mean that this part of you is fully gone. My suggestion is to make a plan to meet your needs for recognition, being seen, being challenged. These needs are super different for every person, I personally got involved into volunteering during the refugee crisis and got started with studying and preparing for my shift towards having my own consulting business. Through my work with many women, I observed that for many, “just” being a mom was not an option as they quickly became unsatisfied. It’s not that they don’t love their children — it’s just not healthy for anyone to completely disregard their own needs and for women for whom career is important or remaining intellectually active and engaged, that needs to remain a non-negotiable and then it’s about balancing everyone’s needs and this can take a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and most importantly support from both the spouse and the employer.
Tip: Stay true to yourself and make sure your most important needs remain satisfied (e.g. recognition, being seen, being challenged, learning) and put a system in place that allows you to get those eneeds covered (e.g. volunteer work, entrepreneurial project, new hobbies, …)
Branding is key
How are you helping your clients who come back from a longer period of time at home?
First of all, it is important to keep in mind that women don’t have to brand themselves solely as stay-at-home-mom. Their professional identity from before motherhood is not lost just because they are not currently employed. When people retire, we say if they that they are a retired Lawyer or Dentist. That’s still part of their identity and skills even if they are not actively practicing or using those skills. For moms at home who find it difficult to be away from the workplace and from their professional identity, I recommend finding ways to stay in the loop by going to conferences or networking events you are interested in. And no, there is no need to present yourself as “oh I am currently not doing anything, I am home with the kids”. If you want to present, yourself as stay-at-home-mom that is totally fine. Do it with pride. If you feel like this is only a part of yourself then present, yourself using both your professional expertise or title as well as mentioning your current situation as stay at home mom. You are both even if you are not doing both at the same time. Part of the new identity as a mom is to learn to become both and to accept that one does not need to exclude the other. This brings us back to the perceived identity loss. In fact, it’s not lost, it’s new and expanded! Many women feel they can only be one or the other — but why?
Bringing the professional topic even when being at home with the children can be a strategic move. That’s a good way to start the conversation about your next steps and return to work, especially if people ask you questions about your current employer. You can even use it as an opener “oh good question, I am looking for my next perfect fit, have you heard of any openings that I should put my name in for?”. Always remember that even if you are on sabbatical, at home, or whatever break you are taking from your professional career, it does not change your skill set. The experience you have, the skills you developed and the tool box you acquired along the way, it is not gone. The first mindset shift when coming back from a longer period off work is to ensure that we build the confidence to give our professional skills the recognition they deserve and that’s branding. There is no need to brand yourself as “stay at home mom”, it might be the current schedule, but it does not describe who you are in the professional world.
Tip: Stay active during your time at home, either in your current network (conferences, aperos, etc) or within new networks (playgrounds, kid groups, etc.) and be proud of your current “work”. You are adding a new human being to our society and therefore shaping our tomorrow.
Next to branding, what are your tips for job hunting?
Keep in mind that there are two channels for job hunting – the jobs that are published and those that are being filled through network or so-called hidden jobs. It is a bit more difficult to get access to the later when you are coming out of a longer break and were not actively nurture or developing your network. You can reactivate and build it but it requires efforts and also a certain tolerance for frustration. For the active job market, keep in mind that a lot of hiring is being done with the help of software, called ATS – Applicant Tracking System which is basically converting the information from your CV into a searchable database. So, when a job is very competitive anything that standouts from the norm such as longer breaks, career shifts, different positions and industries will be considered as disadvantage in comparison to other applicants. In this context, online applications are much less likely to work after a career break and this is why networking is so important as it allows you to enter companies and access job leads without having to go through a system that we know will not be friendly to profiles including a career break. Also, it’s good to keep in mind what could be an employer’s concern with candidates returning to work — longer learning curve, being with new technologies and software, etc.). My advice is to take it on you to anticipate AND disarm such concerns but discussing them openly and showing how you’ve prepared for it. What’s also very important and another key element of branding is to articulate what you bring to the table and how you can add value to a role how. Recruiters and employers are much less likely to stumble on a career break if you clearly convince them of your skills and value.
Tip: Check out the free eBook “25 Strategies to Return to Work after a Career Break”
What needs to be on the CV to become a successful CV?
Most people stick to the “traditional” CV and do not realise that there is a lot that can be done while remaining within the accepted framework. Most importantly, the CV needs to clearly convey the brand and for this to happen, the candidate for needs to do the self-exploratory journey to understand her strengths and skills. For a start, there should always be a positioning line that clearly tells the reader what your expertise is and will make it clear what kind of role you would be a good fit for. This is not an “Objective” section which is outdated but rather a headline along the lines of what you see on LinkedIn just below your name. This is critical as it allows you to take control over the first impression you make and over your branding when it comes to the expertise and position you want to be known for — AND gives your network the guidance to connect you with the correct job leads. When you do not take control of this first impression, you will simply be boxed into your last job title and that’s a missed opportunity, especially if you are looking into a career transition, looking at a step up in terms of seniority or… if your last status is Mom-at-Home… It’s about giving guidance in terms of where you see yourself rather than letting your last job title define who you are.
The next important block is the summary that should further support the positioning of your headline To develop a powerful summary, the best approach is to think of answering the question “Why do you think you are the best fit for that kind of role while ensuring that you clearly highlight what makes you different (and better) than other candidates and how your specific skills set will deliver added value for an employer.
Thank you so much Catherine for these valuable tips.
For more resources and support, check out the available online course or book a discovery call to explore private coaching options:
I spoke with Evelyn, who recently co-founded her own recruitment company about career advice for women. After more than ten years working for one of the biggest recruitment firms in the world, she has seen it all. Women that are struggling coming back to work, women that are taken off the shortlist, because of their age and matrimonial status while having the best credentials and offers that were taken back once the employer learned that the candidate is pregnant.
Evelyn would have every reason to be frustrated about this and simply accept status-quo. Instead, she recently decided to launch her own recruitment firm, where she will be able to offer her clients next to the traditional recruitment the option to recruit “blindly”. That means her customer will only receive the relevant information about experience and assessment results, but will not be able to see the gender, age or any other information that would cloud the recruiter’s judgement. “While not all recruiters will feel comfortable to select the candidates this way yet, I experience more and more people that are aware of unconscious bias and want to make a change. I am very positive and motivated to contribute to future diversity in the workplace” so Evelyn.
Until we reach this point, Evelyn who started her career with IBM and moved through various international roles throughout her career, gave us some very good tips & tricks and good questions for parents alike to ask.
What are your tips for moms-to-be, that are worried about their careers once they are pregnant?
Plan ahead, speak to others who are already succeeding at combining both worlds, seek support and most importantly communicate well in advance with your organization/team/supervisors about the future set-up. Many times, the concerns go away because there is good planning done from both sides. I would recommend asking yourself these questions:
Do you have an idea of what you want for yourself, how do you want to return?
Can you return to your current employer or not?
What type of organization are you looking for?
What are the key things you need to succeed?
What support system do you have, and does it match with what you need?
If you want to work part time, is it an option in your current employment?
What are your tips for a new mom that would like to return to work but might not be able to return to their previous jobs and thus is in search of a new one?
Research organisations who will support you and accommodate to what you need to perform at your job.
Don’t forget that they will hire you for a reason, and as much as you have to impress employers with your skills, experience and knowledge, the companies also have to impress you and show you why you should choose them.
Discrimination still happens, and that is a fact, so look for organisations who are forward thinking, who have a clear and concrete approach to leaves, if possible, get some concrete examples of cases within the organisation to make sure it’s not just nice talk and empty words.
Even if you don’t feel like networking is coming naturally to you. Start networking, join communities and groups. The more you expose yourself the more confident you become.
Try to get a clear idea of what you want and how you want to balance things. The more you can prepare the better you will feel about it. We all know the better you feel, the better you will perform at your new company/ when you return.
When women decide to take some time off to be with the kids, are there any trainings they could focus on that would facilitate the return?
I am a firm believer of “never stop learning”. I would recommend looking at potential upskilling trainings, especially if you have been off for some years.
Are you an accountant and need to refresh your IFRS/ Swiss Gaap skills? Are you in Marketing? Could you upscale your digital skills?
Don’t forget languages. Have you been putting off your German/French for a while but could spend some time to improve it?
I think the key is to have an idea of what you want first. Sometimes you may come to the conclusion that you want to change career direction completely.
Think about it, ask around in your network, respective organizations, etc. and then find some trainings that could support you to reach your goals accordingly.
Which channels do you recommend for job hunting?
Traditional job applications still work, LinkedIn, jobs.ch, etc
Don’t underestimate the power of networking, join some interesting events, join groups and communities of similar minded. It can be professional groups, groups about other things you are passionate about in life. Many times, you can land a job through personal connections.
Always diversify your search. Work with a few head hunters you trust. They may have jobs that are not always advertised. They also have a chance to speak about you with their clients beyond your CV.
Refresh your CV and get advice/ input on it from others. Don’t forget to update and refresh your LinkedIn profile if you haven’t done so!
Thank you, Evelyn, for these super helpful insights!
You can follow Evelyn on LinkedIn, where she regularly posts new jobs, interesting tips & tricks and supports lots of good initiatives.
More insightful expert interviews you can find here.