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I’m not just a FTE, I’m also a FTM (mom), FTW (wife), FTD (daughter) and more!
I’m no stranger to maternity leave — this was my second one with Gunderson Direct. I’ve done the gazillion doctor appointments during office hours, trained my temporary replacements, tossed through a million sleepless nights when it feels like this is never going to end, and then back to work jitters… twice.
But this time was different (not just because our first was a girl and our second, a boy). This time I returned to work while the omicron variant infections were peaking. We were not in the office. Zoom and Slack were the primary modes of communication. Not to mention something called the “Huddle.” There were no welcome hugs and lunches with co-workers gushing over my new baby and where I could catch up with everyone’s life happenings while I was MIA trying to raise my two tiny humans (who like a lot of our clients, don’t listen to me very much). I felt like I missed the “official restart” to my working life.
My first Zoom call back with the agency felt like a blind date. There were seven new faces on our team, which had grown to 25. I’ve had a baby on my lap more times than not during internal and even client Zoom meetings — thank you daycare germs and Covid restrictions. I also blindly walked into a new realm of processes and structures that took hold while I was away.
But, thankfully, the core of Gunderson Direct has stayed the same, even in today’s Covid induced on-screen, work-from-home world. While on leave, my co-workers stayed in touch via text messages, actual phone calls, liking my social media posts, and inviting me to Zoom lunches. They hadn’t forgotten me. When I returned, each person, including the President and VP, reached out to me in their own special ways and welcomed me back — Slack messages, a Zoom chat, or an hour-long phone call.
As I transition to being a full time Account Executive at Gunderson Direct, a full time mama of two, a full time wife — and a full time friend, neighbor and everything else — I find it reassuring that Gunderson Direct’s core values have not changed. To reference a few, I’m doing my part to laugh often since my return. In fact, I haven’t stopped. We continue to work together with a bond and understanding that allows us to not miss a step. Someone is always willing to help. Because of the amazing group of men and women at Gunderson Direct, I know as I transition back into my role, it’ll just get better every day.
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