Petr Šabata is our Mobile Booking Technical Team Lead and he joined Kiwi.com 6 years ago. Before joining Kiwi.com, he had his second child and wanted to go part-time so his wife could return to work. He was denied this option in his previous company so he went on parental leave instead. During that time he took the opportunity to learn something new and he dug into Android development. After a few months he decided to take a side gig in a mobile agency.
“This company got acquired by Kiwi.com and because I liked the vibes and I felt supported as a parent I decided not to go back to my previous job. So here I am, 6 years later, still enjoying the work-life balance I wanted”, said Petr.
We talked to Petr about parenthood and experiences he went through since becoming a parent, our Grow.kiwi.com program and how it supports parents, and about his view of supporting parents in the corporate world.
Hi Petr. Can you tell us what have you learned about life since you became a parent?
There’s always a lack of time. It can get worse with more kids or better with them becoming more independent. In the end, one needs to prioritize what is important and what can be let go. Not everything needs to be perfect.
How has parenting changed you personally?
With kids, you often find yourself stuck in a situation where someone needs your full attention but the activities are not very demanding from an intellectual point of view. I had this nagging feeling that I should be doing something meaningful instead. The feeling kind of went away after some time but I think this might be the reason fathers sometimes say they are not well suited for child care. Personally, I would say no one is at the beginning.
These are important discoveries. How would you say that parenthood changed you as an employee?
When I joined Kiwi.com it had this work hard – party hard undercurrent. I didn’t fit into that, as I wanted to work hard and then go home. I missed many gatherings due to that. The company was younger at that time and not many people had kids. Things changed a lot over the years and with people getting older and having families I think this is very much accepted and understood now.
And finally, how does being a parent affect you as a manager?
Having personal experience makes you empathetic. Sometimes the company needs you more and sometimes your family needs you more. If you can keep those two in balance it’s a win-win situation.
You’re an active participant in almost all of our Grow.kiwi.com sessions including kids’ activities, workshops, and events. How do all of those activities feel like for your family and for your child?
When my kids were even smaller I was always looking for opportunities to fill our time because going to the same playground day after day isn’t much fun. Company sessions are a nice addition to your options – I appreciate them a lot and believe it’s a great thing to include in a workplace. Although the demand lowers now that my kids are getting older and have their own hobbies. When we have time, I enjoy bringing them to events that are organized by Kiwi.com.
What are the activities that your child enjoys the most during Grow.kiwi.com events?
They are not picky. If it’s new, it’s fun. 🙂
How do you see the support parents get nowadays in the corporate world?
It seems that getting a part-time job is quite possible, at least in IT where the demand for qualified people is high. It would be nice to have this as the status quo throughout the whole society because everyone will benefit from it in the end.
What changes around that topic would you like to see in the future?
I really appreciate the newly introduced kindergarten for Kiwi kids. I think more companies should add it to their list of benefits/activities. It makes your life so much easier when you don’t need to visit two different places before and after work. It was the same during the summer camps we had.
It’s still not common when a man takes parental leave or any kind of absence to take care of the child. What are your thoughts on this matter?
I was on parental leave myself so I fully support this. Raising kids is a shared responsibility of both parents.
And now, a tricky question. How do you handle home office while having a child and what tips would you give to someone in this situation?
The Covid times were one of the hardest for our family so far. Being stuck at home with three kids and working too many hours a day in total was demanding. We had to split the time between work and family care. My tip would be to get some help (if possible) and good noise-cancelling headphones. 🙂