Life-Work balance at Big Industries
If I counted correctly, Big Industries' employees are parenting a total of 8 children (and counting?). As of last month, I am responsible for one of these.
Wisdom goes that for many, the adjustment to being a parent is not an easy process. I believe a good work-life situation can ease this transition and so I thought to share how my own situation has been smoothed by working for Big Industries.
START-UP FEEL + PERKS OF A BIG COMPANY
Big Industries operates under the umbrella of Crosspoint Solutions, a Cronos cluster with over 500 employees. It therefore combines the excitement/feel of a start-up/scale-up with the structural support that one would find at a giant consultancy firm. How does this translate into facilitating my experience in becoming a father?
For all administrative matters, our management and technical staff need not loose time in finding out how things work - they can focus on their own projects. Yet at the same time, it is wonderful to rely on the highly competent HR team of Crosspoint Solutions. I contacted our HR colleagues with a gazillion practical questions, and typically got answers within the same day. If things over email still seemed a bit murky, I picked up the phone and immediately got all the info I needed. They talked me through the legal paperwork they would need, how to arrange my parental leave with the health insurance, the fiscal changes involved in becoming a parent, and how to get the most out of my hospital plan (see below).
Part of the package at Big Industries is a hospital plan. My partner had her own plan, and somehow we had never considered switching her to my plan. When we knew we were expecting, we found out that in fact the hospital plan offered through Cronos is considered the "Rolls Royce" of hospital plans and it would cover faaaaar more when it came to copays and the cost of a private room during her 3-day, post-delivery hospital stay. At first we thought there would be a waiting period of 12 months before we could subscribe to this plan, but 2 phone calls and an email later, everything was arranged and we were able to get on the plan in time.
Both of my current consultancy projects take place at organisations related to the European Institutions that reside in Belgium. This internationally-oriented environment has put me in contact with people from all over the EU and the world, and has certainly created an interesting work environment. The content of the use cases has been fascinating, with implications at a supranational level. Working from home was most welcome, as I saved 1.5 hours/day commuting, which I could now spend assisting my partner and taking regular walks together. Neither at Big Industries nor at my projects did I feel any pressure to cut down on my parental leave or on the time needed to prepare for our impending parenthood. I experienced nothing but warmth and support for my choice of becoming a parent. One of my colleagues even showed up at my door with a car load full of useful baby paraphernalia! And since not everything had fit in the first load, he repeated this act of generosity a second time one week later.
GENEROUS VACATION DAYS
On top of the legally mandated vacation days, we receive compensation for the fact that our clients require us to work 40 hours/week. In Belgium, by coincidence, parental leave increased in 2021 from 10 days to 15 days. And finally, last year I was able to transfer 8 vacation days from 2020 to 2021 (Corona kept delaying our vacation plans). This all leads to a grand total of 57+ vacation days in 2021. Needless to say, this is a great help!
A couple days after the birth of our son, I happened to notice on my bank statement a 3-digit incoming transaction. This financial bonus is sufficient to cover at least half a year's worth of diapers. As far as I can remember, this is nowhere stated in our contract and just came as a pleasant surprise.
BONUS: BABY GIFT
Another nice gesture came from the Cronos Group. I was asked to pick a baby gift out of a catalog: a very cute bathrobe (shown in the picture together with the SPARK UI). It arrived while I was tracking the progress of one of my spark jobs :-).
Joris comes from a computational/engineering background and is approaching 10 years of consultancy experience. His focus is on data engineering and he enjoys working at the intersection of the functional aspects of use cases and their implementation on innovative data platforms. He was part of the Big Industries team that laid the foundation for a data analytics platform on Azure for a major client in the auto industry. More recently he has been using Cloudera Hadoop in aviation and anti-fraud projects at EU Institutions and has been digging deeper into AWS. Outside of work he can be found biking, playing soccer and getting fresh air with his (expanding) family.