In Focus

Lucie König: "Especially mothers step on the gas"

Lucie König: "Especially mothers step on the gas"

Having a child means the end of your career? Not for Lucie König, Head of Finances and Controlling at Klüber Lubrication Deutschland. The interview with her is a plea for all working parents.

What is your current working time model?

I work part-time. After the parental leave, I had a
26 h working week for the first seven months and then increased to 32 hours. Flexitime and Home Office make things much easier. As my husband has the same working time model we enjoy maximum flexibility and can switch working days if required. For us it is important that each of us spends the same amount of time with our kid.

Working part-time as an executive – do you see a contradiction here?

Certainly not! What I expect from myself is to deliver excellent performance at any time. Of course, this is not always easy given the limited amount of working time, but a positive approach makes it possible. Moreover, the exchange and communication with my team are not missed out; meetings with my team are scheduled both on a regular basis and as needed. My colleagues are very cooperative here.

How did motherhood change your professional life? Did you discover new sides in yourself?

(laughs). Before, I used to put off telephone calls or appointments more often. Now I only have a limited time frame for completing tasks. So I come to decisions faster and I am more focused in what I am doing. In other words: I think I got more structured and efficient.

Many women fear their career might stagnate – what do you think about this?

I understand their fears. Women are being put under massive pressure from all sides. Entirely unjustified, however. Especially mothers want to prove themselves and step on the gas. It' about time more employers regard this as strength. A mother who returns to work from parental leave highly motivated is the best thing that can happen to an employer! That applies to men, too. I would like to see more men opting to work part time so that it becomes the most natural thing in the world. This actually requires that employers have to become even more flexible.

To what extent does your employer support you?

Our Management is a pioneer when it comes to modern working time models. I receive a great deal of support from our two General Managers. Without the openness and confidence of Jürgen Kopp, my boss, this would definitely not work. If, for example, my kid is sick, it is easy for me to handle the situation by making up for the time I spent at home to avoid bottlenecks. I am very grateful for the trust Jürgen places in me.

Do you have any tips for mothers who want to return to their jobs?

The most important thing is to not to let yourself be guided by others. Just listen to yourself and your child. I know very well what it feels like being uncertain whether I can reconcile job and child. But I learnt that things become easier once you are back at work.

How do you maintain your Work Life Balance?

Having both a child and a job is the basis for my Work Life Balance. My kid keeps me balanced (laughs). When I come home in the afternoon, I still have lots of energy for my son. In turn, the time I spend with my son provides me with a lot of energy for my job.