Diane Den Haan from Pettenbach (47) has worked for our company since November 1993. As a single mother of two children, she has overcome substantial challenges in her career path. Diane’s children are almost adults (16 and 18 years old), but when they were still young, balancing her career and family was a daily challenge. In this interview, she shares how she coped and how HOFER supported her as an employer.
You have been employed at HOFER since 1993. Can you remember how it all started?
Diane: I come from a working class family - I always knew I would start a job right after completing secondary school. I was working a manufacturing job when I saw a HOFER vacancy announcement in the newspaper. I applied and was quickly promoted to Deputy Store Manager. I’ve been a Store Manager for 22 years.
Is this your dream job?
Diane: I dreamed of becoming a policewoman, but I loved playing with tills even as a child. My job is really enjoyable and I can't imagine working anywhere else.
Diane, you have a 16-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son. How hard is it to combine a career and parenting obligations?
Diane: It is very difficult without support. I took a 2.5 year leave of absence, and my daughter was a year old when I returned to work. That time took much perseverance and organisational skills.
Who took care of your children while you were at work?
Diane: I had a surrogate grandma who took care of the children early in the morning and took them to preschool and school. After that, my kids went to after-school programmes until I picked them up.
In your opinion, which abilities are the key to balancing career and family?
Diane: You need to be organised and set priorities. My children are always my top priority, but I also love my job.
How did HOFER support you in your career advancement?
Diane: HOFER offered me the opportunity to become Store Manager, and I accepted the challenge. The work has helped me grow and I have learned a lot over the years.
Does your store have tangible “team spirit”?
Diane: Definitely! It is important for my team to stick together and help each other out. I am an empathic manager and address issues openly so that we can work together in finding a solution.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Diane: Now that my children are older, I have more time for travel, yoga, running, reading and riding my motorcycle.
Imagine you had a chance to take a year off. What would you do?
Diane: I would travel the world and splurge on an extended Ayurvedic retreat.