I have been thinking a lot today about "The Great Resignation" and what that means especially for women. I feel like every day I see someone else on LinkedIn saying how they are excited to announce their new role. When experiencing "stuck" energy at the workplace, I can see the appeal of walking away. Especially in toxic environments, leaving what no longer serves you can be a huge step towards improving your mental health. You feel like this step puts you firmly in control of your reality.
Should You Stay or Should You Go?
This is a tough one, and no one can make that decision for you. I have heard many colleagues over my 11+ years across multiple startups and industries talking about this difficult choice. Stay where the challenges are familiar, or start someplace new where the challenges are unknown. Wherever you are employed, there will be challenges, something that I think is easy to lose sight of in a moment of frustration.
But I truly believe that in this job market, there is hope. Companies are more willing to make accommodations for working women and especially mothers. If you are considering making the leap, it is my hope that not only do you do some soul-searching on where it is you truly want to be, but make sure you are asking-really, demanding-what you are worth:
Your Personal Reckoning: How You Want to Be Seen vs. Seeing Yourself
I think what this really boils down to for many of us is self-realization and understanding. Being honest with yourself and transparent with what you want out of a role, out of your job, and how you want to manage that against your family life is important here. For me, the narrative of ambition did change when I became a mother: and with this phase in my life, I know it's temporary and I had to forgive myself for easing up. There's more to life than work, as you'll probably realize (perhaps too late) on your deathbed. Your family can't replace its time with you, but you can be replaced by your company.
Are you moving on? Grab this interview guide to help you get there.
Is it weird to bring up your partner in a business-type blog? I'm going to do it anyway.
While I'm all about female empowerment, it’s naive to think that women can do it all on their own. In fact, one theme I'm consistent on is the need for women to have a support system, both personally and professionally.
Professionally, your support system is your Personal Board of Directors: much like a company, a group of people who are personally invested in your success who you can tap in to get advice or wisdom at any time to advance.
Taking it one step further, I would argue that the person that you choose to spend your life with is truly your partner. It is not as romantic to think about necessarily, but "forever after" includes compromises and sacrifices. It involves values, understanding, and making the other person's happiness as high of a priority as your own.
I'm not saying it comes without its ups and downs, but my 10+ years with my husband has been one of the most supportive relationships I have ever been in. Let's dive into what kinds of conversations are worth having:
1 - Finances
Not so sexy a topic, but an important one nonetheless. Ideally before the wedding, a conversation needs to be had about money. Who makes what, who has debt, what the plan is for kicking off your life together. And, time to be honest about your money habits: who is the spender? Who is the saver? I'm all about a little balance, but if something is out of whack now, it will only exacerbate things later. Luckily for me, we are both financially paranoid and don't spend money, ever. So we are boring ;)
2 - Career
This is also a nice time to talk your career dreams. It's not to say your career can change, but is your career important to you? Where is it you want to be in your life? How can this person help you to get there, or best support you?
For example, if your dream is to be the CEO of a company, is your partner onboard with that? Are they okay with the travel, long hours, maybe that MBA program that you are planning to take in a few years? Yeah, talk about that now. Because it's an important factor especially as we look at point 3.
3 - Kids
Hands down, having kids is one of the most challenging things to negotiate with my career. But I'm doing everything in my power to make it so that it doesn't have to be for my daughters if they choose to be working moms - at least, not to this extent.
This person is your PARTNER. That means communication, alignment and as equal a division of labor as possible when it comes to your offspring. You may still be the default parent for doctor appointments, etc., but they can jump in too. Usually, they want to. So don't take yet another day off of work if your partner can take a turn when your kid runs a fever. Tap into them as the resource they are and not as another child that needs to be taken care of ;)
The Bottom Line: Love is Just a Start
There's so much more that comes around after that happily ever after, and knowing where you both stand when it comes to heavy hitting topics like the above. The reason I chose to highlight it now is that while I got married a while back, there really is something to being with someone who commits to you and what is important to you. I love my kids, but know that I get fulfillment out of working, and I need to lean on him occasionally to dedicate the focus needed to succeed at my job. And as I look around the room, especially at a tech company, we need more women here. Women belong in places of leadership, decision making, and influence - so we can make for a better tomorrow for our daughters.
Want more? Checkout this recent episode of the Moms that Lead podcast, where I talked about support systems for women for long term leadership success.
Have you ever been jealous of someone who got a little bit of an edge earlier in life? If not, good for you: you are some kind of pure.
Because I definitely have.
Starting out right out of college, even before college, I remember looking at classmates and being in envy of their personal situations. I wish MY mom was an executive VP who could coach me on my first interview, or I wish MY dad led the finance department of a start up, and could advise me on how to negotiate my first offer, or could explain equity and 401k to me.
But my mom sells furniture, and my dad is a handyman.
Don't get me wrong, I am super proud and I learned so much from both of them. In fact, if you are just starting out and find yourself in a similar situation, here are some thoughts for you:
1) Examine your relationship with success, and money.
This first step requires some reflection. Based on where you came from, how do you define "success"? What about your attitude towards money? How do you manage your finances? Will the career you are in support you financially? Understand what motivates you, and how your definition of success can best set you up in your life. Spoiler: you need to make that money, don't be afraid of it and get your credit card / student loan act together ;)
2) Look at what triggers your jealousy and make a plan.
I once heard that we are most jealous of the things we see that we want most in this world. Are you jealous of your friends' parents coaching them on their job hunt? Or if your friend received a promotion? Great, this tells you what you want, which is step 1.
Now let's start by creating a plan to get you there. If it's moving up in your career, check this 7-step post outlining how to make your case for a promotion. If it's a new job at a new company / industry all together, start the job hunt with this interview guide. And if it's a lack of monitorship, get creative about your network: ask your friends' parents for advice! Reach out to that old professor of yours! Ask an executive at your company if you can buy them a coffee, to pick their brain on how they achieved their success (and maybe inspire them to be invested in yours.)
Start today by stop making excuses, and be proactive about the resources that you need.
3) Reflect and identify your strengths.
I doubt that you have made it this far by sheer luck. Not having people in your corner by default caused you to get your own people. If you needed to teach yourself a skill in order to advance yourself, that's an amazing thing to call out on your resume or in a job interview. If you don't have experience in a particular field, show how you started a blog and started researching the topic to become versed in it. All of these ways demonstrate resourcefulness and showcase how you are willing to take the initiative; both incredible qualities to look for in an employee, in my opinion.
The Bottom Line: Flip the Script
It's easy to make excuses. What's not easy, is taking control of your narrative and doing whatever you can in your power to change what you do not like in your life. Consider these experiences opportunities to learn, and turn them into advantages.
I'm a motivated, self-starting marketer and working mom looking to make a difference in the world - one story at a time.
Let's get you set up for success!
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