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    Posted on 18/11/2014 by | 0 comments

    Here on the blog, we usually talk about issues affecting women who work. Although it’s out of the ordinary, I thought I’d share a few snippets from the inaugural post of a stay at home mother, on her career journey and decision to leave the workforce. A former lawyer, she eloquently tells her tale, emphasizing that she’d always been a high achieving, ambitious woman.

    On her decision to leave her law firm for good:

    I don’t know exactly why or when, but at some point during those 18 weeks, I came to a certainty that I would not return to the firm. Part of it was the fact that my postpartum episode had made me realize how fragile I was. Could I handle the stress of big firm life again, with two children at home? And the childcare – could I trust a stranger again with both of my kids? There is no clear answer to these questions, and ostensibly, the answer could be yes. But, one night I stared at Carol’s sleeping face and knew the answer was no. The fact is, I am greedy. I wanted these kids all to myself, all the time. I didn’t want someone else to hang out with them all day, albeit just 3 days a week. I didn’t want conference calls and emails to interfere with my time with them when I was home. I just felt such a pull to be with them. And I listened to that, above all reason – despite the fact that doing so would mean giving up my career, at least temporarily, and a salary the likes of which I may never see again.

    On feeling insecure about her new position as a jobless mother:

    I think the loss in status is what has hit me the hardest so far. I never realized that I took such pride in being able to say that I was an attorney at a big firm. I still dread the day when I go to a work event with my husband and someone asks me what I do. I guess I am just not completely comfortable with the whole concept yet. But what really hit home was something that Jack said to me last week. We were talking about daddy and what daddy does and how daddy goes to work everyday as a lawyer. And then he literally said to me: “Mummy does laundry.” I sat there for a moment, shocked that this could very well be how my son viewed me. “It’s true, Mummy does do the laundry,” I said holding back tears. “But I do have a law degree.”

    Have you considered becoming a stay at home mom, for a brief period or long term?

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    Posted on 17/10/2014 by | 0 comments

    You’re blazing full steam ahead on your career and working hard for your next promotion. In the back of your head you are thinking about children. Someday you know you want to be a mum, and you know you want to continue working your way to the top. There are a number of important topics to consider before you find out you are pregnant.

    1. Flex time & working from home: Look around the office and see if anyone is currently working with a flexible schedule. You may want to dip your toe in the water now. Ask your boss about working from home one day a week and see if she is open to it. If you are able to prove to her now that you can be highly productive, she may be more open to an even more flexible schedule in the future. It is good to gauge and know what sort of boundaries there are in your current company, so you can better understand your options later.

    2. Direct reports: If you think you may want to work from home once your child is born, think about the number of direct reports you have. The more direct management of personnel that is required in your position, the harder it is to work remotely. You may want to move into a position where you are an individual contributor or have fewer direct reports, as it is often easier to “sell” a flexible work arrangement in those situations.

    3. Breast-feeding: Are you planning to nurse your child after you go back to work? There are actually a number of logistics to figure out. Start looking around to see if your office provides a room for you to do this. My best friend had to tape up paper on her office window and have a lock installed on her door. I bought a second pump that I left at the office so I wouldn’t need to carry it along with my computer at night. If you travel a lot, you may not be able to bring your breast milk through airport security without your child with you.

    4. Childcare: Most of us don’t have jobs where we are in the office from 8 am to 5 pm on a set schedule everyday. Your schedule may be even more erratic if you travel to client meetings or sales calls. It costs more but you may want to explore hiring a nanny, rather than using traditional day care. It can save you valuable time in the morning because you will not need to take your baby anywhere. If you prefer the day care option, in many cities you need to sign up with the best day care facilities as soon as you find out you are pregnant. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true.

    5. Money money money: Children are expensive! You need to start saving now. Consider how much time you want to take off on maternity leave. You may not be paid your full salary the whole time so you will need extra money to cover those weeks or months of expenses. Evaluate the impact that childcare expenses will have on your monthly income. If there are other major purchases you need, consider taking care of them before you get pregnant. Pay off your car, get the roof on the house and take one more fabulous vacation. Once your child arrives, you will have less money left over each month for these big ticket items.

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    Posted on 12/10/2014 by | 0 comments

    I loathe studies like this. They make life appear preordained, when I’d love to think we have more control over our emotions and attitudes.

    Nevertheless, according to the Journal of Applied Psychology, hating your job runs in families:-

    Being born with certain genes sparks an inclination to be happier at work, while other genes are linked to lower job satisfaction, says the study by Zhaoli Song, Wendong Li and Richard Arvey at the National University of Singapore. This counters conventional thinking, that misery on the job can be blamed on lousy working conditions, low pay, mistreatment by the boss or a poor career fit.

    The current thinking is that around 27% of our job satisfaction is based on inherited traits.

    The genes linked to poor job satisfaction are also connected to higher rates of depression and lower self-esteem. I wonder if taking steps to mitigate the tendency toward depression and low self-esteem would also help with job satisfaction?

    In any event, my dad has always seemed fairly satisfied with his job, while my mum has struggled to find work that makes her happy (or at least, not unhappy). Maybe that means, for me, it’s a wash. But I don’t know… is a “wash” a thing in genetics? Probably not.

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