Sometimes, life takes an unexpected turn which can directly impact our work; thankfully for Erin Scherbinske, she was able to navigate some of these challenges with innovative thinking and the help of her team at Caterpillar.
Erin began her Caterpillar career in communications just after college, she worked in a variety of job roles within the organization until leaving the company in 2015. After giving birth to her second child, Erin’s career plans quickly came to a halt as her daughter began experiencing serious health issues. Erin said she continued to work as much as she could but had many interruptions that eventually forced her to step back from her role.
“Caterpillar has always been amazing to me,” said Erin, “My leader even offered me a year to figure what worked best for myself, my daughter and my family, and decide if I was able to come back or not. My team told me to do what was best for me, and I also wanted to do what was best for them.”
Erin began looking at career opportunities outside of Caterpillar a couple years after leaving the workforce that would provide her the flexibility she needed to both work and attend to her family needs. After finding a communications role back at Caterpillar during her search in 2017, she decided to revisit the possibilities.
Erin took the job description and tweaked it to propose a customized role that allowed her to share the position with another individual. ?By doing this she would have the flexibility to focus on her family’s needs, while still delivering on her career goals and aspirations. Her leaders at Caterpillar agreed to the position and helped make it possible.
“I was always one of those people that worked differing hours from 6 a.m. until late at night, but with my family my focus shifted,” said Erin, “I’ve never felt guilty about leaving and doing what I needed to do for my family, and none of my co-workers made me feel that way.”
She said this unique role was only possible because she asked for it. The advice she gives others is to speak up and ask for what you want, while keeping in mind what you bring to the table. Although introverted by nature, she couldn’t have gotten the flexibility without asking for it.
“I was super quiet when I first began my career, but I remember one of my leaders telling me, “I know you don’t always say much, but when you talk, I know to listen.”
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