Welcome to Inside censhare! Today I am typing this, not saying it to camera, as instead of a video this week Christina shares with us her wonderful personal story of joining censhare, that says a great deal about what it’s like to be Inside censhare. Enjoy! Ian Truscott
Those of you who have kids or are about to have kids might know this situation; you realize that you are going to have a baby. On the one hand you are overwhelmed by this great feeling… yet, on the other hand you think - this is just very bad timing.
I have been in such a situation and I have decided to share this very personal story with you because I believe it shows a lot about censhare’s company culture.
Let’s start at the beginning.
My first son was one year old and my husband and I discussed that we would like to have another child. Which brings us to the first challenge you have with timing; of course, you can decide that you want a child, but you never know how long it will take until you are pregnant or even if you are ever going to become pregnant.
At the time my husband and I discussed that I hadn’t been working for censhare. I was Head of Recruiting in a very large international technology consulting company. But, I had already realized that it was time for a change. I wanted to go back to a mid-sized software company to have a Head of HR role. I had been working in these kind of companies before and was sure that I had more possibilities in a company that size to change things, to implement projects quickly and to make a real difference. And here comes the second challenge with timing; there are a lot of tech companies in Munich, but if you have very specific expectations to what you are looking for, you can never know how long it will take until you find this dream job. So I wasn’t in a hurry. I was also not unhappy with where I was at that time.
So how can you make a timeline and plan for two things that you cannot really plan? Should I first join a new company and work there for a while and then try to have a baby? Should we have a baby right away and after maternity leave start looking for a new job? The answer for us was simple, if you cannot plan it, do not plan it! And we did not. And guess what happened. The one thing we had expected the least, Three months after my husband and I had this discussion, I was pregnant and I had signed a work contract for what turned out to be my dream job.
I remember the morning quite well. It was a Saturday. Two days before, I had learned from censhare that they would like to make me a job offer. But I already had this strange feeling that I could be pregnant. On Saturday morning, I got up at 5 am and made the test. I knew that it could be way too early to see something, but I thought I would give it a try. It was positive! There was a big chance that I was really pregnant! I knew that I could only be 4 or 5 weeks along – so very early in this very risky phase of the first 12 weeks where you just do not know if everything is going to be ok.
My husband and I sat on the couch and discussed what to do. censhare was relying on me to build up the HR organization to realize the strong growth plan that they were having. If I were absent for several months just a few months after I started working for them it could be a real issue for them. The thought occurred that maybe I should leave the job to the other candidate (I knew there was another very good candidate in the pipeline). But I had the feeling that this job could be a very rare opportunity and I wanted to have it.
I made the only decision that made sense to me, I told censhare. I told censhare before I told my parents, my brothers or my friends that I was pregnant. I told them that I was very early along in my pregnancy, and that I did not even know if the baby would be ok as it was far too early to see a doctor, and that I was planning to be on maternity leave for six months only three months after I had joined.
I think there was a moment of shock on the other end of the line when I spoke to censhare. Of course, it is no surprise that a woman in her mid-thirties is pregnant. But it might be a surprise that a pregnant woman with already a little kid at home applies for a very challenging job that requires very often more than just the standard 40 hour work week.
I put my trust in censhare. Legally, I was not obliged to tell them that I was pregnant. I did not have a signed work contract on the table. censhare could have easily withdrawn the offer they had only verbally made me. But what happened? censhare put its trust in me. They stuck to their job offer, because they believed in having found in me the right person for the job regardless of the risk that a pregnancy brings with it and my absence for six months so briefly after my start.
On my first working day at censhare, I talked to Dieter Reichert, our CEO, and thanked him for giving me this opportunity even though I was pregnant. He just replied very briefly that he does not really know what I am talking about because if he wants to work with someone, he wants to work with someone. Period.
I know that there might be a lot of people out there who think that there is nothing special about that. If censhare had behaved differently, that would have been highly discriminating. But those of you who have kids know that there is a huge difference between a legal situation and how a company really treats the employees who have kids and go on parental leave. Even before that episode I had the feeling that censhare has a really great company culture. After that episode, I was even more sure that I should join this company.
If you follow this blog , you’ll know we were introduced to Christina in episode 2: