How Accenture helps me keep my priorities straight
September 2, 2021
Dad. Firie. Digital Marketing Manager. Dave Gatt wears all three hats interchangeably thanks to Accenture’s flex work policies. On Father’s Day, he reflects on the difference parental leave and a truly supportive workplace have made to his life.
When I was 24, I was working in the UK as a Marketing Manager, when I decided to take a 2-week holiday in Australia. That was 8 years ago! I loved the culture. It was so relaxed compared with England. I just needed to get a job in my field.
So there I am, working on farm in Tasmania, hoping one of my applications will pan out – and I get an interview. But, I don’t have any work clothes with me. So the farmer lends me a shirt and tie, and I go to this interview looking professional from the waist up… but waist down I’m in shorts and work boots. Astonishingly, I got the job! Did I mention how much I love Australia?
That job, with an agency that eventually became Reactive, changed my life – personally and professionally. It took me to Melbourne, where I met my wife. And it brought me to Accenture Interactive, which acquired Reactive in 2014. I was spring-boarded from a boutique agency into a massive global team, operating across 125 hubs, studios, innovation and delivery centres, in 120 countries.
To be honest, I was pretty nervous about what it would be like as one of 569,000 people globally. But, almost immediately, I saw the benefits. Accenture has amazing people policies which I was soon able to take advantage of to help out in my new family situation: in the space of a year we’d got a dog, bought a house in the Dandenong Ranges in outer Melbourne and had a baby!
When our son, Wilder, was six months old, I was able to take 4.5 months paid parental leave. I’ve got to admit, I was pretty terrified of being a Dad that first time around. My wife’s a nurse at the Royal Children’s Hospital, so she’s a total professional when it comes to babies. Whereas, I was like, “Which way up do I hold him?”
To my surprise, parental leave turned out to be a gift – so much so that I took another 4.5 months with our second son, Leon. I’m forever grateful that I’ve been able to create memories with my two boys during their baby years. It really helped me build a deeper connection with them both. Having those months to just focus on them without worrying about work was incredible – a moment in time I’ll never forget.
The whole experience taught me a million and one things. I’ve learnt more about myself over the last 3 years than I ever could have on my own. The boys are energetic, free-spirited kids who’ve taught me how to reconnect with my inner child and not take life too seriously – as well as giving me a new found level of patience!
This last year, with two kids under two during Melbourne’s lockdown – and my wife being a frontline worker – has certainly had its ups and downs. The kids have no concept of you ‘not’ being available. I’ve had my two-year-old attend client workshops and take centre stage on work calls!
In all honesty, my wife and I are not sure how we’d have made it through without the support of Accenture. The flexibility you get is amazing. Accenture has even supported me to become a fully operational firefighter for Victoria’s Country Fire Authority (CFA). When the siren goes off, my clients and colleagues know I have to run because someone’s house is burning down!
I’ve never come across another company that’s genuinely supportive of stuff like that.
This Father’s Day this year, I’ll be spending the day with my two boys, going for a walk in the Dandenong Ranges or heading down to the beach. And I have a message for any first-time Dads out there:
You’ve got this. Remember we’re raising babies in a pandemic so don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the best moments and roll with the punches. They’re here to teach us a valuable lesson on how to love more and show us new perspectives on life. Enjoy the ride 😊
We provide flexible work policies, 18 weeks of parental leaves and other employee assistance programs so you can be at your best at and outside of work. Interested in working at the heart of change? Visit our Careers page today.
Get the latest stories of the week, delivered to your inbox. Select Careers Blog on the registration form.