Everyone needs a big momma to handle those things that only mommas can handle when the going gets rough. The same is true at our office. And no one is better suited for the job than our office manager Claudia Tak, a powerhouse with a hands-on mentality and (actual) mother of two.
Fast Times at Betty Blocks
Claudia is the perfect example of how fast things can go at Betty Blocks. “I started in October 2017, so sometimes I still feel like a newbie — although you can call me a veteran compared to others. Since I’ve started, I’ve seen so many new people arrive.”
“After nine months of applying for all kinds of jobs without any luck, I stumbled upon a vacancy for 2 days a week. Within a few days, I was up and running, supporting the previous office manager. Unfortunately, she soon fell ill, and after just a month of working part-time, I became the full-time office manager. In the beginning I used to be very shy. For the first couple of months, I was too afraid to talk to anyone...”
Momma on a Mission
When she first applied for the job, Claudia had no idea what kind of company she was signing up for. “Unlike many others, who were keen on working for a tech company, I didn’t deliberately choose to work at Betty Blocks. I just needed a job. So when we first got a tour of the new office, I was flabbergasted! “These are Google and Facebook activities!” I told my dad about it afterward.”
She continues: “But even though the business is fast-growing, you can still feel that the family values are very ingrained in our culture. Whenever we organize something big, like Betty Blocks on Stage, an event in which I don’t play a big part, I still feel so proud that I’m a part of this club. I love working for Tim and Chris (the two brothers who founded Betty Blocks) and admire their mission to democratize software development.”
Any advice for your future colleagues? “You need to be able to keep your cool. Sometimes I have a big mouth, but I also try to stay humble. You have to be aware that everyone is replaceable. It’s a tough job and you constantly have to reinvent and prove yourself.”
She adds: “But I think everyone needs a certain pressure to perform. It can get crazy sometimes, but it’s way worse if there’s nothing to do.”
Not only does Claudia manage to keep us +200 kids in line each workday, but she also has two of her own. When asking her about them, her eyes instantly light up. “I became a mom when I was still young, so they are 12 and 13 now, and already in the first class of high school. If that makes it easier? In some ways it does. I don’t have to take them to kindergarten early in the morning — they can bring themselves to school. But as they hit puberty, you see other issues arise… You see your kids change so fast. In a time span of half a year, they became totally different people.”
During the holidays, Claudia and her kids love to make boat rides across the Netherlands. “My boat is my passion. Being on the open water is one of the greatest feelings in the world. My kids don’t know any better. Recently, we decided to go to an all-inclusive resort in Egypt — it was their first big trip outside of Europe. They had a great time, of course, but afterward, they both said: “Mom, I’d rather be on the boat.”
How she manages to combine a demanding full-time job with her life as a single mom, is quite interesting: “You know what it is, it’s always been the 3 of us. I literally grew up with them. That’s why we’re very close.”
This is the moment in the interview where Claudia gets a little emotional. “Of course I had to bring them up to be a bit more independent than most of their classmates. Take our boat adventures, for instance: I had to teach them how to swim from a very young age. There will be moments when I can’t always be there for them.”
She continues: “Last week I got a tremendous surprise. For Mother’s Day, not only did they get me breakfast in bed and a present, but they also planned an activity! They rented a Canadian kayak to go peddle the canals. The two of them arranged it all. Yeah, at those moments I think to myself; I’ve done something right here. Then I really feel like a proud mom.”
And we feel proud to have you as our colleague. Thanks for being there for us, Claudia!