For many people, the timing of starting a family is determined around their career goals and aspirations. The plan may be to reach a certain level of seniority or to complete other goals such as travel or education before starting a family and taking on a whole new level of responsibility.
There is often a fear that once we start a family our careers will be negatively impacted. Perhaps that we won’t get the next promotion, a big salary increase or will miss out on other work opportunities.
There are steps and actions you can take to ensure that having a family won’t negatively impact on your career. We have created a list of 7 things to keep in mind to help you feel empowered about your own career rather than worried when it comes to starting a family.
Break your goals down into three specific areas: when you are pregnant, when you are on maternity leave and when you return to work. Be purposeful, but accept that things will change – this will help you to manage your expectations.
Stay in touch when on maternity leave
This might not sound attractive to everyone – some may prefer to completely cut ties from work and focus entirely on family. However, our view is that it is important to keep in touch if you want to continue your career. You might choose to do this formally by attending team meetings or having regular check ins with your boss, or informally by attending social functions like the Christmas party. Whatever you decide, having social contact is important.
Network outside your workplace
It is also important to keep yourself known and active in your industry, not just your specific workplace. There are a variety of options for this, and they are not always the obvious ones. Networking can range from attending industry group functions or if you can’t attend in person, consider online options such as LinkedIn. Parenting groups – mothers groups, playgroups and school communities – are also great ways to network with other professional people. And don’t forget our Facebook group!
Consider mentors within your own organisation, but don’t limit yourself to that. Look further afield to mentors within your industry such as formal industry mentoring programs, mentoring programs run by universities, or just informally reach out to someone. The key to selecting a good mentor for you is to look for someone that you relate to. Perhaps someone who is a few steps ahead and can show you the steps they took.
Consider whether you can utilise your maternity leave to do some personal development. This could range from a formal certificate or degree, to reading industry news in magazines or emails to just spending some quiet time reading interesting books. We love reading so much we have created a book club in our Facebook Group. Come and join us to find out more about it.
Prioritise and review
Keep your goals in mind and know when to say no. Equally – you need to know when it is appropriate to change your goals. What do you need to say no to in order to advance your career?
We hope you find this advice valuable. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes, and, of course, come and join us online in The Juggle Community.
Until then, happy juggling!