“Coupang made me the best dad ever!”: A Coupang Friend shares his story
Coupang Friend Jin-sik Park works at Daegu Delivery Camp 1, making deliveries to customers during the week. He is also the loving husband of his wife Mi-rae Kim and devoted father of their two children, Gaon (age 7) and Xion (age 5).
“I had no idea how many baby products raising children required, nor how to help my exhausted wife with her burdens,” said Jin-sik, recalling the difficulties of his first steps into fatherhood. “I was a complete newbie dad. But thanks to Coupang’s generous parental leave policies and culture, I could grow into the best father for my family.”
In July 2018, his second child was born and his first turned three, Jin-sik decided to take parental leave for the first time. “I used to work in construction, and I couldn’t even dream of taking parental leave there,” he said. But with the encouragement from the company, and based on his desperate desire to take care of his wife who was suffering from postpartum depression, Jin-sik decided to take three months of parental leave.
The application process was simple. After letting his team members know, all he had to do was select the desired duration in the company’s HR system and submit his request for approval. If he never had taken parental leave, Jin-sik said, he might have never come to understand his wife and appreciate her work as much as he does now.
“I never imagined how hard it was to raise kids. When raising children two years apart, the entire day can go by without me noticing where the time has gone,” said Jin-sik. “I wasn’t good at parenting at first, so I made a lot of mistakes, and got into many arguments with my wife. But these arguments led to us having more open communications about our thoughts and feelings and reach a deeper level of understanding and agreement.”
He also came to realize that for children, the time they spend with their parents is the most valuable experience. After his first three-month parental leave, he took another one-year parental leave in July 2019 and a third one for three months in June 2021. During those times, Jin-sik wasted no time in creating many happy memories with his family both at home and while traveling.
“I took my children on trips to the mountains and seaside all the time, and we could have these moments during the quiet weekdays, not just on crowded weekends,” said Jin-sik. “We often went to the beach at Namhae, and I learned that my daughter, who I thought for sure would love playing in the water, actually enjoyed playing in the sand more.”
His wife Mi-rae has also been deeply touched by the times her family could freely spend together to build precious memories. “I was so excited to plan vacations when my husband took parental leave,” she said. “When I first became a mother of two, I don’t think I ever had the freedom to feel that way. Our kids also loved traveling with their dad, playing together with him in the water and sand to their hearts’ content.”
Even today in Korea, this kind of family-oriented corporate culture of encouraging parental leave is hard for many to imagine. “When I told my friends about it, they couldn’t believe it, telling me that my position would be gone when I returned,” said Jin-sik. “That never happens at our company, and taking parental leave is so easy!”
Because Jin-sik is now well-versed with Coupang’s parental leave system and policies, his colleagues often turn to him when they want to take leave themselves, and now he is the person who encourages others to take time off to spend with their families. And with his home life secure, Jin-sik could also thrive at his workplace, actively communicating with his colleagues and demonstrating leadership. In January 2022, he was even promoted as a Daegu Camp 1 leader.
“After taking parental leave, my job satisfaction has really improved,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be the kind of dad my kids want to spend time with ever since I was a kid myself, and in that sense, Coupang is really meaningful to me because it helped bring our family together.” He added, “Thanks to Coupang, I was able to maintain my career and become the best father to my children and reliable husband to my wife.”