Conohana-san of the Month September edition (Part 1)
In ‘Conohana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, childcare and family care.
This month’s interview introduces the “backseat players” of the University of Yamanashi.
We asked about the “work-life balance” of two married university clerks over a lunch♪
You are a mother! You are married! Is it difficult to combine career and family life?!
At the Interactive Space of the Support Office for Female Researchers, the room B1-214.
Welcome～♪ Let’s talk over a lunch!
She joined the Students Support Division at the Faculty of Education and Human Science of the University of Yamanashi, as a general staff member in September, 2007.
Was transferred to the Planning and Assessment Division, the University of Yamanashi in April, 2008.
Took a maternity/postpartum leave and childcare leave using the system from late September, 2011 to late March, 2011.
Returned to her job at Planning and Assessment Division in April, 2013.
Was assigned to the Student Affairs Department Administration Office / the Student Affairs Group in April, 2014.
・・・Now she lives with her husband and her 2-year old son.
After graduating from university, she entered a company in Yamanashi prefecture.
She left work as she married.
After engaging in homemaking for one year, she wished to return to work.
In April, 2014, she was employed as a general staff member at the General Affairs / Public Relations Department of University of Yamanashi.
・・・Now she lives with her husband.
Q: You two are efficiently managing your work, yet neat and stylish! Please let us know the contents of your work, at first.
H: The Student Affairs Department where I work is a window for the students of this university. We deal with courses, academic results, timetables, the coordination with high-schools, extension lectures, certificates, etc., and I’m in charge of the student registry and its transference-related matters. It has settled down, but in April and May, we were quite busy for various procedures for new or moving up students.
Y: I am working for the General Affairs / Public Relations Department at the 4th floor of the headquarter building. I mainly handle investigation affairs requested by book or newspaper publishers, and the issuance of our public relations magazine “Vine”. I’m newly recruited, so there are plenty of things I have to remember and it is tough, but when the coverage I mediated becomes an article, or when the publishers or the students I worked for thank me, I feel rewarded realizing that my work is helpful for them.
Hmm, you seem to be very busy but feeling fulfilled with your job♪
Q: Both of you are married and Hisae-san has a child. You strike a balance between regular employment and home making. Isn’t it tough?
H: It is tough. My home is messy! (lol) However, I get help from my husband and my parents, and thanks to them, I managed to returned to my job after a period of leave (＾＾) It is my task to pick up our child from nursery, but when I cannot manage it my husband will do it. It is my husband who takes our son to the nursery every morning♪
Y: My husband was all in favor of my idea of re-entering a regular employment. It was he who encouraged me when I was thinking of rejoining society, so he willingly shares our household task.
So, you are balancing between your work and home thanks to the support of your family.
H: Sometimes even the support from my family cannot keep up. For example, when my child develops a sudden fever while my parents are unable to come to help. There were several such times last year. I had to trouble my colleagues at such times by taking time off at short notice….
You are committed to your job. (I have to emulate her!! (-_-;)
H: There is a way to apply for time-off for childcare for those who don’t have a helping hand or parents nearby. I sometimes utilize the temporary nursery system at “Miyamae Nursery” tied up with the Support Office for Female Researchers of this university. By prior application, I can use it when in urgent need. I’m greatly helped by that.
Q: (Thank you for your advertising our office ＾＾).Hisae-san availed yourself of the maternity and postpartum leave (as stipulated in the 1st and 2nd paragraph of Article 64 of the Labour Standards Act) and used the childcare leave system. How were the systems?
H. I took eight weeks each for maternity and postpartum leave, and a year and three months for childcare leave. They were very short. One day I noticed that the day of returning to work was around the corner. The eight weeks of maternity leave flew by for preparing for my baby to be born and the preparation for the delivery, and after the delivery, I couldn’t be active for a month. (It is said that a mother needs to take a period of rest for recovery after her childbirth). So I stayed in my parents’ home with my newborn son, appreciating the time with him, and concentrated on childcare after I recovered.
Q: What was the reason that you didn’t take a full three-year childcare leave (until the next day of the applicable child’s third birthday) ?
H: Well, that’s because I was a little anxious about the difficulty of returning to job after taking a long-time leave(＾＾；)・・・Most of my colleagues were like me, but the next time I want to take a longer leave and spend more time with my children!
The acquisition rate of recent years is increasing compared to the year 1996. ↑
Q: Hisae-san, how was your husband during your maternity and postpartum leave?
H: He gave consideration to my physical condition, and supported me in various ways. Before the childbirth, he participated in a “Parenting class” held by the municipal office with me, and we prepared for my childbearing together.
Q: How wonderful. By participating in such classes and acquiring knowledge of pregnancy and delivery, new fathers could be cooperative for their wives, and gain awareness of becoming a father, so I hear.
Y: I think it would be easier to use the leave system when one’s husband is cooperative, or when the workplace has an understanding, like in the Hisae-san’s case♪
Q: Maybe in your case in the future too!
Y: I hope so. I have just started work, so for the time being, performing my task is the best thing I can do, but I want to have children, maybe two. One reason I wanted to work for this university for my second career was that I wanted “the work environment which enables me to go on working after having children”. I hope to continue my job as long as I can.
By talking with both of you, I have realized that the maternity and childcare leave system has pervaded in society, and the use of the system is becoming easier in the present work environment.
Next time I will ask them how they spend their days off and how to refresh themselves. Please wait♪