Half Position, Full Schedule

This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Martin Klann is a patent manager and family father. I wanted to find out how he manages to do it all, so I met up with him in the cafeteria.

Martin, what do you do at SMA?

I have a Ph.D. in physics and have worked here at SMA as a patent manager since 2010. That means I make sure the inventive solutions our developers come up with are registered with the patent office and that we don’t encroach on any patents held by our competitors.

And you work part-time?

Exactly, I work about 20 hours a week right now. I am here in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and work from my home office in Göttingen the rest of the time. My wife and I have a daughter and wanted to split the maternity/paternity leave. So she stayed home the first seven months after giving birth and now works full time again. She still works from our home office two days a week, the days on which I am here in the office. Thankfully we have a spot at daycare so that our daughter is taken care of for three hours a day, which leaves time for work. But one of us is always home in case she can’t go to daycare for some reason. It is really practical.

How does it work with your part-time position? Does it require a lot of organization?

Martin Klann

It actually works quite well. In our team, it is quite rare to get a project coming in spontaneously, meaning we can easily divide up the work and plan ahead. Planning my carpool is often times more complicated than that (laugh). One drawback is that I only have time two days a week for meetings here at work, meaning my calendar is often very full on those days. But I can usually stay a bit later because my wife is at home those days. It’s a little different at the home office. In the mornings I am completely busy with our daughter and when it’s time to pick her up from daycare, there’s no possibility for me to keep working.

Has SMA been supportive of you in this situation?

Absolutely! SMA provides us with a lot of information about working part time and my boss was very supportive of my plan. I brought it up quite early during the pregnancy and we spoke about everything and signed all the necessary contracts in advance. There was really never a problem. When planning to go part time, my advice to anyone would be to decide as precisely as possible which tasks you will continue to do and which you will hand over to someone else. You clearly can not handle as much working part time as you can when working full time, as much as you might still want to.

Thanks so much for talking with us, Martin!