As I mentioned in my previous posts, I’m in that phase of my life where I’m thinking a lot. I’m thinking whether I should be taking up new challenges in my career or putting career at a side and taking care of my baby. While for some of you, the answer could be a straight ‘Option 1’ or ‘Option 2’, but I know now that it’s never an easy thing to decide for the woman herself.
No matter how much supportive your family is to your work and your familial responsibilities, you don’t want to carry the guilt on your shoulders for the rest of your life that you gave up your family for your career. So, I started inquiring people on how they manage their work and their families. I asked colleagues, I asked my parents (both mine and in-laws), I even asked strangers I met for the first time. 🙂 But, I never got a convincing answer.
In this search, yesterday, I found the stories of the Fortune Most Powerful Women. Reading their stories and reading the ordeals of their lives, I found that they faced the same dilemmas and same decision-making stages in their lives, as I am. I would like to share what I read and what I deduce from all of it. This is for all the girls who will have a child or have a child already, to understand that you don’t have to pick one. You can have both!
Indra Nooyi, the PepsiCo chief says the guilt (of leaving your child) will always be there. Sometimes it’ll be so strong you would feel like a complete failure. Your children and your family would be making sacrifices for your career. But, you just have to learn to deal with it and give your best to whatever you have committed to. In one of her interviews she mentioned how she was supposed to make choco chips for her kids and had forgotten. So, she called her cafeteria and asked them to make some, and make them look like home-made cookies. 🙂
But, it’s also famous about her that if any of her kids calls her in between her meetings, she takes the call.
Moral: You will have to find excuses or short-cuts to give your family what they want. You may be missing some of their parent meetings to meet your office deadlines. But, you just keep trying.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, says she got the offer of Facebook when she had just delivered her second child. She said it’s important to take new challenges and keep your work meaningful. Else, the point comes when you don’t get the enthu in your work and it all looks pointless to you. Unless you don’t keep achieving in your career, your career will start looking a waste of time to you and you will come to the point where you will quit it. Rather than making it wasteful, make it useful.
In both these incidents, I see some of my problems. Now, I was at the same point where I was not finding myself useful and I didn’t feel like my work was making the impact the way it should. I had come to the point of quitting it all. And ,that’s when Tarun took the control and said that we will go to Bangalore. He’s giving me those new challenges and change of environment I needed to get my career running again.
Moral of the story: For a woman to achieve life long balance, she needs a husband who thinks her career is as important as is his. As Indra Nooyi put it, ‘Chose the right husband.’
And, then there was the important answer given by Carol Bartz, ex-Yahoo chief. She was asked how does she manage work and family. She said I don’t know how I manage. Basically, I keep juggling them like balls. You catch the one whichever comes at that time.
So, for all the girls out there, not yet married, I would just give one advice, chose a partner who values your career more than you do. And don’t make career or child as top priority. It’s about managing both the priorities equally.
And, all the guys out there, you just need to dump your egos and its time to understand that your wife is as equal to you as any other guy colleague. And since she’s your wife, help her handle her problems just like a Man.