Being a successful career woman, wife, and mother is a challenging task, for men and women alike. Career oriented and young millennial women are fast progressing into senior roles, making critical career-trajectory decisions. At the same time, many are thinking about or are already starting families.
The dilemma over whether women should choose family or career advancement is particularly relevant today as they're increasingly seeking leadership roles. Well, Monster experts say that women need not choose but- must master the balancing act of find the perfect blend of the two.
Follow these time-tested lessons and master the secret recipe to maintaining your career at the same time planning a family.
Build Your Personal BrandWhile you plan a family, it may be a great idea to dedicate some time building your own personal brand. Start a blog on a theme you are most passionate for– travel, lifestyle, or leisure. Join online forums and community clubs, and when you have your child, figure out — in between baby time, how you plan to stay connected. You never know, some of these networking opportunities may just lead you to a brand new start.
Build up your credentials so that people can find you and take note of your career achievements. You must go on a strong note before taking time off for the baby. Most importantly, talk to senior women leaders who have been in this position earlier in their life. Small nuggets of their advice can be extremely handy and will not be found in any of those ‘how to’ guides.
Setting Realistic ExpectationsIt’s a fact that nobody can do it all. And saying yes to every work is an impossible responsibility. In order to win professionally and personally, you must create long-term goals rather than focusing on short-term tasks and sweating it all out. Endeavoring for the long-term is more achievable and just as rewarding. With limited hours in a day, not everything can be accomplished. Be sure to set realistic expectations and goals for yourself, else you’ll end up feeling guilty and unenthusiastic too soon.
Open and Transparent CommunicationPrioritizing is key while identifying and building long-term plans and weekly schedules. Moreover, clear communication and transparency are both extremely vital to the implementation of your plan. Getting your family, co-workers, and managers on the same page is necessary to juggle between the two critical aspects of your life. This helps build a support system of people and teams who will help you reach your end goals.
Find or Create The Right CultureStriking the right balance between career and family planning is also dependent on the culture of your company. Having a supportive ecosystem towards employees in all aspects of their life and not just during work hours is either in the DNA of a company or is non-existent. As long as you and your teams accomplish what’s expected, employees should be allowed flexibility to prioritize family life when needed to. This is not just a good measure but also breeds higher productivity and dedication towards work and the company.
Have A Plan BEven though you are ready with a strong timeline and seem confident of what your family and career chart looks like in the near future, it’s always advisable to have a plan B. While at your job, try to be the best and amongst top talent. Master skills that you know are going to be scarce in the coming quarters and win over peers and co-workers. All of this comes in handy when you plan to return from sabbatical.
Your employer will not only welcome you, back but will also be equally accommodating. Companies are most likely to allow more flexibility to retain top talent, now that you have already demonstrated your potential. Moreover, even if you are not able to make the comeback you dreamt of, you always have the option to start your own venture or take up freelance opportunities.
Maintaining a work-life balance isn’t achievable every day, nor can it be perfected overnight. It takes time, experience, and most importantly, support from others.