When I was a teenager I dreamed of living abroad, becoming a high powered marketing executive and wearing sophisticated and stylish J. Crew suits every day to work. I did study abroad, I did get an MBA in Marketing, and I might have bought a J. Crew pencil skirt, but after having children my views about my career drastically changed.
After college I worked as a marketing manager and had over an hour commute to downtown Austin. Fast forward a year later and I had my first son. I quit that job and landed a job closer to home and worked my way in to the marketing department. Many people at my company have extremely ambitious individual development plans and are working hard to make their way to the top of ladder. Now I question myself. Should I be doing the same? Do I really want to be a manager or upper level executive in the company? Do I have the time and effort to dedicate myself to this type of position? Then I had TWINS! Whoa Nelly! That put a hold on everything.
I still have an individual development plan, and I continue to work hard and set goals for myself but my goals have changed. My development plan is also not as strenuous as most, because I honestly don’t have the time or mental capacity to dedicate hours to it outside of or even during work. There is a very specific job that I would like to have in my company, and I hope one day to attain it…but for now, I’m ok with where I am. My time and energy outside of work is dedicated to my family at this point, because God knows my tiny babies need me.
I heard Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family, speak last year at the Texas Conference for Women. Anne talked about how there were times in her career when she would lean in and times she would lean out based on her family circumstances. It really spoke to me and still does in this season of my life. Right now I have to lean out of my career and focus on my family, but when my children are a bit older and I can actually breathe, then I’ll lean back in. Anne also wrote the infamous article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All…definitely worth a read!
Have you experienced this? Did your career goals change or stay the same after having children? Have you ever decided to lean in or lean out of your career during a season of your life?