Parenting at Zego: a foreword by Chief Product Officer, Jason Tunstall

Written by Jason Tunstall

Published on

I became a parent when working for an internet giant - and my expectant fatherhood I believe played a part in securing the role (a point of bias not touched on enough). I had just returned from travelling in Australia and while my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I discovered there were three of us in the camper van - not two. After a meltdown about not being Peter Pan and needing to grow up, I finally embraced the thought of being a dad.

On our return to the UK, I found that my recent (and frequent) travels occasionally played against me when seeking employment. In my interview for a product management role, it was observed that I worked for a couple of years and then travelled for a year - guilty as charged - that was my plan up until that point. When they learned I was to become a parent it sealed their view that I'd be in for the long run - I was and was with them for seven years - if I wasn't 4 weeks away from becoming a dad I'm not sure the role would have gone my way.

At three months old, after the three of us made a trip out to California for work, our daughter was offered a place at a local nursery in Richmond, my girlfriend said she felt it was too early and that if we could afford to, she'd like to spend more time concentrating on parenting as opposed to earning - she had always been the bigger earner and more ambitious of the two of us.

This was a big decision and meant that we then maxed out our credit cards and like many folks in the early noughties moved loans from one place to another and lived very much from hand to mouth. It was tough but it gave us both purposes which persist today - my wife works incredibly hard in a range of roles but has never returned to paid employment.

My focus on ensuring we are provided for as a family unit has driven many of the decisions I've made at each stage of my career. I ensured that I found balance while my kids were very young so I could be around to help, and also have the freedom to immerse myself in more demanding roles as the family has matured. Ultimately this led to pushing for adventures through work, including our move to Latin America and then on to Europe. It's worth noting I've never once wished the tables were turned, my wife's role has always been the harder one whatever my own gig has been.

For me it is amazing to see how much has changed in the 19 years since I was on my first paternity leave - I got 5 days of leave. By the time our second child was born 16 years ago, I got a whole 10 days to help at home. To see Zego and companies like it supporting new parents with advanced levels of parental leave is superb and is of long term benefit to the company, the family and society at large.