August’s Health Hero: The UBC Parent

Posted by: | August 3, 2010

I recently met with a colleague at UBC who I think is a rather remarkable parent.  He’s asked for his name not be shared, in the typical humility of any good parent it seems, so we’ll just call him Doug  Doug is a dad of two, generally doing most of the parenting himself. In addition, he’s a well-liked, respected and valuable UBC staff person. Since I don’t have any children, I am amazed at Doug’s continued successes in both his work at UBC and his job as a parent.  I thought I’d highlight him this month, share his perspective and applaud all of you UBC faculty and staff who have children.

Doug has a full-time management position at UBC.  He’s a well sought-after employee, and I’m certain that he’s been recruited by other employers. He tells me that he wanted to work at UBC (and continues to stay here) because he was impressed with his supervisor’s willingness to appreciate Doug’s role as a parent, first and foremost.  When he first applied for his position, Doug made it clear that he needed flexible hours, in order to best meet the needs of his kids.  Since then, he’s been really thrilled with the resources for parents offered by the University.  For example, he outlined how he takes advantage of all the kid-friendly activities, like Take Our Kids to Work Day, Alumni Weekend, and UBC Sports Camps.

Doug believes that UBC employees who are parents should look into more of the campus resources available – to cut down on commute times and to take advantage of what we have to offer on campus.

He added that UBC faculty and staff don’t realize how much easier their lives could be if they put their children in the various camps run on campus (during summer, spring and winter breaks), or ones that are close by.  In fact, Doug has already recruited a few other parents to send their children to a local Point Grey French camp, where they can drop their kids off on their way to campus.

Since I work closely with the Employee Family Assistance Program, I had to ask if Doug had used any of their services for parents.  He hadn’t, but he found it comforting that he could call them (for free) if he needs them in the future.  He suggested that parents need to stop hesitating to ask for help, particularly since each family has such different needs.. Parenting is hard work and there is no shame in asking for help!

Thanks to Doug for sharing his thoughts.  I hope other parents will share their perspectives too, on how they balance their jobs as UBC faculty/staff and parents. The more ideas we have, the more answers we can offer to our colleagues.

UBC is always working to become more family-friendly. For a few examples, check out our Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces at UBC’s Vancouver campus or the Focus on People webpage, which includes the Report on Family Responsibilities.

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