Doing it your way
Having one job plus another on the side, returning to work sooner after parental leave or whatever else you can imagine. No matter how what you want to do in life, it is most probably possible at DMK.
Daniela Lenz, milk collection truck driver and farmer

“I am living two lives. In one, I drive a milk collection truck and I work the night shift from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. In the other, I am a farmer. The day starts at 6 a.m. While my parents-in-law do the milking, I give the calves food and water. I always do that on my days off, as it is something I really enjoy. I grew up with farming. I manage to combine these two jobs by gradually reducing my working hours from 200 to 80 per month. DMK made that possible, without any problems at all. Originally, I was not planning to become a farmer. I have worked for DMK since February 2016 and have been collecting milk from one farm for some time, without ever having met the farmer, until the day there was an accident in his hometown. He’s a member of the volunteer fire brigade so he stepped in to manage traffic safety on the county road that night. It was just my luck that I was stuck in the traffic and unable to pass, so we wound up having a long conversation. At the end, he asked me out to dinner. And we got married in 2019! My “double life” has a lot of advantages. On the one hand, at DMK I enjoy being in touch with my colleagues in the milk collection department and the milk producers. But on the other, as a farmer I can organize my daily life even more flexibly, so I can take care of things for myself and my family. But what both jobs have in common is that I’m contributing to the production of highquality food and helping secure the food supply. For me, that is really meaningful – alongside the fact that occasionally I am able to be my own boss.”

Merle Niewert, 35, Head of HR Digitalization & Business Digitalization Analytics.

“Being on parental leave is so different from professional life. It was almost like coming to a standstill. Being busy all day at work and then suddenly being unable to plan and manage things was my biggest challenge as a mother. At work, I was used to setting myself a tight schedule each day. Now I’m on parental leave, my son dictates the day’s events and you have to be flexible and spontaneous in order to get things done. During my time on parental leave, I am really doing everything I can to focus on my son and the family and use our time together as intensely as possible.

“One year of parental leave was enough for me.””

 Merle Niewert, 35, Head of HR Digitalization & Business Analytics.
Merle Niewert, 35, Head of HR Digitalization & Business Analytics.
Demanding phase

All mothers and fathers know that caring for a child can be exhausting and stressful at times. On the other hand, you will never get more honest feedback. It is a very special time, enjoying my child’s developmental progress and I have a lot of real laughs. But I also miss my job and plan to take a maximum of one year of parental leave, then go back to work parttime at the beginning of February 2024. I am keeping up in the meantime. I will be joining workshops and osites this year to plan for 2024. I am glad to be in active touch with my colleagues during my parental leave, so I’m in the picture about the important issues when I am back. I am also pleased that many of the projects I was r responsible for have been making progress during my parental leave.

Doing justice to both

I spent a long time thinking about how work would be as a mother, and whether I would be able to even keep doing my job. How do I do justice to both my child and my job? I think it’s important to start communicating early. I made it clear from the start that I would be coming back to work part-time so I could keep caring for my son. It means I will have to give up some of my duties. But I still aim never to stand still and to keep finding new solutions. Leading my team is a real privilege for me. So I am really glad I will be able to share with my colleagues a strategic picture of our area when I am back. There’s still a lot of discussion in society about being a mother and pursuing a career at the same time, it can be pretty controversial. I thought long and hard about how to reconcile having a child and a career. In my partnership, equality has always been important to me, and that both parents share the responsibilities, so my husband and I decided that after this period of parental leave, we will both work part-time and share caring for our son. DMK and my boss Ines Krummacker have been really supportive of all my decisions and very flexible and creative about organizing my work in the future.