"Family and career is not an either/or choice - it's about thinking long term and balancing all your priorities." - Angela Mitchell, as quoted by Reva Seth in an op-ed piece in Wednesday's Globe and Mail.
Reva Seth, Angela Mitchell and Kristin Taylor joined us earlier for an hour-long live discussion about balancing children and careers.
- Ms. Seth is the founder of The MomShift: From Maternity to Opportunity, an online initiative that is interviewing women who have achieved greater career success in the period after starting their families.
- Ms. Mitchell is an associate partner at KPMG who has used three career breaks, including two maternity leaves, to recharge and refocus her career.
- Ms. Taylor is a Toronto-based partner at the law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain and a mother of two daughters; she took a novel approach to maintaining her career profile while on leave.
Here are some highlights from the discussion. Click below for a full transcript:
Question from a reader: "I have two young children, work part-time and take care of more than my fair share of the household, childcare duties. I am exhausted and wonder how to get back my passion and my sense of self and energy. Any ideas?"
Answer from Reva Seth: "One of the best tips that I got on this is to find some way of connecting to something that you used to love - even if its just a blog or newsletter that you get that reminds of you interests and passions you had before."
Answer from Kristin Taylor: "As nuts as this sounds, I found that as soon as I carved out a little time for me - which turned out to be running a few days a week either at 9:00 pm or 6:00 am, my energy level recovered. I found a couple of great, incredibly supportive friends with kids and it was our time to do something for ourselves, swap stories on how to get kids to sleep or eat and feel better."
Question from a reader: "How do you deal with the perception among staff who don't have children that they are asked to take on additional hours or workload to accomodate the work-life balance of people who do have kids?"
Answer from Angela Mitchell: "I can't speak to all types of jobs, however, in my field we are all expected to put in the work required to complete a project. It comes as part of the job description that some projects are incredibly demanding and others are not as much. Some consideration is given on travel to those with families but just as equally to those who just plain don't like to travel. In terms of who is assigned to a project, it is the person with the best skills and capabilities. It is then up to the individual to best work out their schedule and ensure that nothing important slips by. Many professionals choose this field to be able to leverage some of this flexibility."