27th May 2022

How Vodafone Empowers Me to Balance Family and Career

Julia Waanders
Senior Portfolio Manager

I ended up in tech quite unintentionally. I did a Master’s Degree in International Management and then I got a job in an online shop start-up in the Netherlands, mainly because I could speak German. I had to add new products to the website, so I started learning about content management systems and how websites are built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Once I got my hands on it, I never stopped. I’ve been in IT ever since.

Vodafone has been a great place to work for me. They really champion women in tech and the company is set up to empower and support us in every way. I’m able to dedicate enough time to both my family and career here without sacrificing either, which, as someone who has always wanted to work (as much as I love being a mother too), is incredibly important to me.

Great policies and support for working parents

I was certainly not expected to work while I was on maternity leave, but I was allowed to keep my work phone and laptop, which meant I could stay in touch with the team. I liked having the option to join team events and all-hands meetings when I wanted to so that I could keep up with what was going on with my team and at Vodafone in general.
Then when I returned from maternity leave, I reduced my hours to 80%, no questions asked. I also got a bonus for the year even though I was on leave for much of it, and a salary increase based on the work I’d done up until I started my time off! Shortly after that I was promoted to Senior Portfolio Manager too, with my part-time hours not even an issue despite it being a senior management role. These are just some of the many examples of support we’re given as working parents at Vodafone.

Now that I’m back, my son often comes in with me and spends the day at the Vodafone kindergarten, which he loves. I get huge peace of mind knowing he’s happy while I am at work. It also feels good knowing I am raising my son with a strong female role model who works and has a fulfilling career. He sees me handling both of my priorities with care. In fact, all of my friends who have kids are independent, working women too and I think it’s great that he’s exposed to that. He is being brought up to respect women and be a gentleman.

The balance is easier here

When we secured a spot at the Vodafone kindergarten, I thought it would be a piece of cake and that everything would be taken care of. True enough when everything goes to plan, but nobody prepared me for the many reasons he may not be able to attend the kindergarten or be stuck with me in my home office.

Thankfully, I can plan my work very flexibly and independently at Vodafone. I’ve had to cancel meetings last minute, rearrange schedules, work in the evenings when my son is sleeping, or even have him on camera with me on video calls, and my colleagues are all hugely understanding and supportive. It’s so exciting working for a huge enterprise like Vodafone – all the internal opportunities, new challenges, potential roles or new skills we can learn – and it’s great to know you’re not going to be penalised or miss out on opportunities or recognition just because you’re focused on being a good parent as well as doing your job.

For career opportunities at Vodafone, head to our careers page.