Expectant dad Rob Cass is feeling the pressure! With the birth of his first child days away, Rob knows the importance of earning a sustainable income and providing the best possible future for his growing family. But with priorities in check, he’ll be delaying starting a new full-time corporate role to dote on his baby and wife during the early days of parenthood.
This former navy brat (born, raised and trained!) knows all too well that family remains constant in this rapidly changing world, and a bright future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present. With that in mind, we’re in no doubt that Rob’s awesomeness as a dad will create the nurturing environment his children need to grow up strong, wise, happy, and live life in the moment.
Can you tell us about your career journey so far?
I’ve had a fortunate career working in a number of different functional roles for some exceptional companies. The majority of my career has focussed on digital products and services for some of Australia’s largest household brands such as Yellow Pages, Telstra, REA Group (realestate.com.au) and Australia Post, in the areas of marketing, sales, product management and business transformation.
More recently I held a senior business transformation role. This change management position was arguably the most challenging of my career as it spanned across functions and at different levels.
It’s so exciting that you are expecting your first child in the next few days. How are you feeling about becoming a dad?
It is said that excitement and anxiety are the same physiological state. Therefore, I am not sure which one I am. Maybe both!
I’ve had a strong career focus over the last decade and I’m now immensely proud to start a family and to be a dad. I love kids but always thought I would be the favourite uncle and not necessarily have any children of my own. It is amazing how things change, particularly what you consider important in life.
My parents did a wonderful job instilling strong values in my siblings and me. I inherited and have further developed a strong work ethic and priority for family, health, fitness, integrity, kindness, loyalty and optimism. I am looking forward to sharing with and encouraging these values in our kids.
Can you tell us about how becoming a dad is changing your perspective on life?
I often reflect on my life journey.
When I was younger I was dependent on my parents for love and security, and on my siblings for friendship. Dad was in the navy and we frequently moved (every six to 12 months), therefore friends would come and go. We were a close family as it was the one constant in our lives.
As I moved into my 20s I prided myself on my independence and making my own way in life, financially and otherwise.
Then in my 30s I decided to ‘settle down’ and get a dog—an adorable Great Dane. Soon after, I met my wife and my focus shifted from me to us (a couple with a four-legged dependent!). Now that we are about to start a family I can see how my life focus is about to take another leap, moving from us to them (our children). However, it will remain important for my wife and I to make time for each other as well as for bubs.
Have you or your wife faced any career-related challenges through pregnancy?
Yes. Just before falling pregnant my wife resigned from her job. Looking for work became a second priority for my wife as we experienced a challenging pregnancy—she had a condition called placenta previa. Thankfully the pregnancy has improved and she no longer has the condition, however finding work in her last trimester is proving to be near impossible.
To add to the uncertainty, I left Australia Post and decided to start a small digital agency with an ex-colleague. After six months growing the digital agency, I decided to bring some stability back to our lives and move back into a corporate role.
Are you planning on taking parental leave?
Unfortunately, the timing to return to a corporate role is not ideal. I won’t be eligible for parental leave, as I won’t have worked for long enough in any role I accept. Therefore, I have made a conscious decision to delay full-time work until after the birth of our child. This will ensure that I spend some time bonding with our son and supporting my wife.
Many men are worried about the impact that taking parental leave will have on their career. What do you think needs to happen to encourage more men to take parental leave?
Whilst there has been a massive improvement in gender balance within the workplace (including pay), we are still a long way from equality.
In our household, I remain the primary income earner. With large loans against our properties, I feel the pressure to provide a sustainable income. I also put pressure on myself to provide the best future that I can for our kids (education, lifestyle, etc). At times, I am divided between pursuing a passion (with financial risk) and setting up a financially secure future for my family.
What are your hopes and dreams for your child?
That he is healthy and happy! We worry far too much in life, and all that I wish is that our children find peace and happiness in their life journey—not worrying too much about the past or the future but to enjoy the present.