17 November 2020, text: Senada Kadic, photo: Adnan Handan
For many people, 2020 has not been a very positive year. Not so for Adnan Handan, our new customer advisor at the Zurich general agency: “So far, 2020 has been my best year. I became a father – and on my first day as a customer advisor too”. This special endearing story proved to be a great ice-breaker with his customers: “It’s really a great coincidence that our son was born on the exact day when I should have been attending the Welcome Day. Everyone’s amazed by this story”. For the new dad, who tells the story proudly, this was an emotional roller-coaster, however: “My wife was in labour for days. I barely slept and was completely out of it. And I was so worried and had a guilty conscience about my new job”. Looking back, Adnan – or Adi, as he calls himself – didn’t need to worry so much, because everything turned out well, and he has caught up with what he missed during the first week – what’s more: “I think I had a great start up to now. And best of all: I never had such a good work-life balance before. I can now easily manage my family and my job”.
Two summers ago, his situation was quite different. Adi is a trained media technologist and was very successful in his job. “I had set up a start-up with my colleague, a web design and marketing agency, specially for SMEs”. He also decided to study business psychology at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and started the course in September 2019. Three months later, he and his partner discovered that they would become parents: “We were really delighted”, says the Zurich-based customer advisor. In the spring he and his colleague moved into their new office. But they were not able to work there for very long. The coronavirus arrived in Switzerland. “After working in the new office for two weeks, we had to shift our work to our homes. And suddenly there wasn’t much work to be done – only a very few SMEs are investing in marketing during the crisis”, says Adi.
As the baby was on the way and he intended to postpone his studies for a year to enjoy some time with his family, he wanted to find a new part-time job. “I was looking for all sorts of jobs, especially part-time ones in the Zurich region”. In addition to browsing through the latest job ads he also gave some thought to life insurance, now that his family was growing. When a Helvetia customer advisor explained the various pension options to him they also discussed Adi’s search for a suitable job. During the talk with the customer advisor, Adi wondered whether this could also be a career for him: “The Zurich agency is just a few minutes’ walk from our apartment. And it was also important to me to find a secure job in this critical time”.
“I can only recommend other fathers, students and career changers to take this step”.
However, he admits that he had certain preconceived ideas about customer advisors: The trained media technologist says “I thought that they do little and earn a lot”. “And that’s true”, he then says, with a laugh. Of course, that’s only a joke. But then when he read the job ad, he knew that he might enjoy working as a part-time customer advisor: “I have a great network thanks to having worked for myself before. I’m a good communicator and I like people”. And then he was offered the new position, and is still pleased about that today. As he works part-time he is able to structure his work very independently. He usually advises his customers during non-peak hours. “It can happen that I do my administrative work on my laptop in the morning with the baby in a carrier”. The new employee says that he enjoys working like this. He didn’t expect to be so enthusiastic about his new job. “I can only recommend other fathers, students and career changers to take this step”. He thinks it is a shame that very few fathers in Switzerland decide to work part-time. However, for him it is clearly the best solution. “It’s become my dream job, I’m very happy.”