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A change of perspective: Donald's story

03 March 2020
Donald Parton is a process optimisation manager (ANZ Midstream) at BP. He has worked at BP for approaching 20 years, during which he has held many different roles. He currently works in a job share, with a secondment two days a week in an operations role, which allows him to spend time with his young family

“I work four and a half days a week,” says Donald. “On Mondays I work from home which is my opportunity to see my five year old son and do his school drop offs and pickups, and then half a day later in the week to take him to swimming lessons. I also have twin two year old girls.”


A change of perspective


While Donald was working full time, enjoying a great career with BP, significant changes in his personal life made him take stock and led to a shift in the way he worked: “Three years ago I had open heart surgery and just four months after that our twins arrived. As soon as I sat in front of the cardiologist and heard him say that I needed surgery, thoughts of my career just washed away. My partner was sitting next to me and we thought: let’s get through surgery recovery and then have the twins. It was a pivotal event that put everything into perspective.”


“I was at a bust because I had a full time job and difficult big changes happening in my personal life. So I started putting my hand up to BP to ask if I could maintain my employment while making them aware that I couldn’t work five days a week anymore. I managed to get a job share in 2017 and BP has been brilliant in helping me balance my two lives.”


Flexibility for everyone


According to Donald, being given the flexibility to take care of himself and his family has been a great opportunity which has kept him at BP. And he’s not the only one: “Around 10 years ago, I was working with two women who were job-sharing their role. It worked brilliantly. They maintained exclusive areas of responsibility but were really good at updating each other, where required. It’s funny that this happened nine to 10 years ago and now I find myself in the same scenario!”


A truly inclusive workplace


That’s what real inclusion looks like to Donald:

A truly inclusive workplace embraces diversity at the core. Even if it might go against the status quo or societal norms, to me inclusivity is when people of all genders, backgrounds and perspectives come together and feel confident to speak up. Inclusivity also means consideration of people’s circumstances – it needs to become the norm for somebody to say in a job interview that he or she can only work part-time.
He also believes that this type of inclusion can help drive a company to be more successful:
Diverse teams are more successful because people don’t feel like they have to cut back – professionally and personally. If I have a part-time job and have time to support my family and be a happy dad, I’m obviously more happy and successful in my job.

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