Tag Archives: women

Lady with a baby coming through…

Having just come off the back of two maternity leave roles, it gave me pause to reflect on my maternity leave experiences.

I’d had ownership of my job for three successful years when it was time for me to go on maternity leave. I soon realised that I must let go of control and pass on my knowledge as much as possible because once you’re gone, there’s nothing you can do.

Honestly, after I left, I was too busy keeping a small human alive to even think about what was happening back at work, let alone worry who was organising the next conference.

When I came back from maternity leave, I realised that the world had kept spinning without me and my replacement had actually improved some of the processes. My worry about not having a job to go back to was quickly allayed when she went on maternity leave herself.

But then I discovered that I actually didn’t want me old job back anyway. In a strange twist of fate, having a child actually gave me the ambition to have a career, not just a job. I figured that if I was spending time away from my daughter, I better be doing something that was worth it.

And so I made moves towards loftier career goals and took a maternity leave contract role in a company that would expand on the skills in the areas I wanted to work in. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of other strong career women there who supported me through my learning process and taught me that confidence is not a dirty word.

I learnt that self-belief is not arrogance, but ego can be weak and a sign of insecurity. I was also taught that it’s ok to be selfish and not selfless in order to get where you want to go.

Once my maternity leave contract ended when the mother returned, I took another maternity leave role from someone who had been in her job for over a decade and I think was freaking out, trying to control the only thing she could with the uncertainty of her first child on the horizon- her job.

And we all know better than that now don’t we?

Both the maternity roles I took gave me different opportunities and experiences, but I can honestly say that I am now done with stepping into someone else’s shoes, no matter how shiny they are. I’m ready to have this job of my own again in a new role that is mine for the taking.

Related posts: Work, work, work, Money vs Happiness, The hunt, Pride vs The Fall

Power Plays

The office sometimes seems like a high school playground with all the clicks, bullying and popularity contests replaced with power plays, bitching and favoritism.

I hate to be a woman who says it, and I am sure I am not the first to, but sometimes women in power are the worst of all.

I recently went to a seminar that basically surmised that women have the same issues workforce flexibility as they did years ago as it and that we need to challenge ideas about work to change the system.

This is hardly going to happen when we are too busy trashing each other and watching our backs to support each other.

A level playing field requires accountability and trust. Two things that can’t happen if you are too scared to make a decision in case the woman next to you pulls you apart or drops you in it.

The same seminar stated that the office is at least 10 years behind society and the social norms of women haven’t shifted.

Women are the primary carers, a title I was shocked to see required my acceptance of if we wanted to claim parental benefits. Sure, my husband could just as easily have been the primary carer, but our agreement was always that the one who was earning the least would be the one to stay at home- it just makes fiscal sense.

But how are women ever going to earn more than men when we are trying to compete with the boys club, fit into a limited window of opportunity and deal with the fact that we are discriminated against in interviews?

Hey, I get it, if I was an employer and was presented with two equally qualified candidates in their late 20’s- one male, one female- I’m sure I would make the same choice too. The assumption is that as a woman you will leave as some point soon to have kids, but this assumption is not always correct.

What about those that don’t end up having children or can’t have them?

Sure women don’t help themselves with the bitching, the moaning and the tears, but not all women are manipulative like that. There are those of us who don’t want children, want to earn an honest living, stop wasting time with all the bull shite and just get the job done.

My favourite take out from the seminar was that men have an important role as a co-parent. Only when you communicate about and share responsibility for the raising of the kids can true work equality be achieved.

So maybe the key is to find a supportive partner and then all the rest will fall into place?

Related posts: To Belong, Having it all?, New Beginnings