Confessions of a Corporate Mum

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Ever wondered what other women are thinking?

I remember years ago, attending a conference where the CEO of Carnival Cruises in Australia spoke.   It was an honest and upfront discussion about her challenges as a woman in leadership and she confessed to many of the insecurities she felt on a regular basis.  She told a great story about her first weeks on the job,  when there was a crisis and she was called on in the night…and in her mind, she panicked  “I don’t know what to do, am I ready for the job etc.. etc”… that same voice that many of us have in our heads.

This really stuck in my mind and I often think about it.   I loved the honesty of her presentation and it only made me admire her more.   Women are terrible (at least most of the women I know are) at comparing themselves with others.   We look at what other people are doing and we wonder “why can’t I be like that,  they have it so together, they really have it all”.   Social media in a way can make this a lot worse,  we see posts of happy families, success and joy.  I can’t remember the last time I saw someone post a photo of themselves looking tired and haggered,  yelling at their children because they have been pushed to the brink,  a vein popping in their forehead as they worry about getting all the work completed in their paid role before they scramble home to start their home “job”.

The reality is a much more complex patchwork quilt than the image we portray on the outside would sometimes convey.

And so…as I was contemplating this all, I realised that this is what I want my blog to be about.  I want to share with you my journey as a working Mum in the Corporate world.   To give you insights into my own insecurities, my challenges as I juggle all my commitments, as I try to be all the things I so want to be…a good mother, a great wife, a successful corporate leader and of course, look after my own health, well being and sanity in the process.   Sometimes my life is fun, sometimes my life is chaos, sometimes I am radiating happiness and other times I want to curl up and cry in the corner.

By letting you behind my curtain,  I’m hoping I will help others to realise that underneath it all,  we are all battling the same demons,  the guilt, the struggles.  The elusive balance that we strive to achieve doesn’t happen in perfect sync,  some days are still just hard.    I also hope to share some of the things that I have learnt in my journey so far,  the tools, tips and techniques that have helped and inspired me.

And in return,  I hope that my stories inspire you, to give you some sunshine on a cloudy day.  To remind you that you are not alone, that you don’t have to be perfect to be successful.  To have the grit and determination to keep going.  I will be so happy if I can help just one person be more than they ever thought they were capable of.

So why don’t you follow me on the journey?…lets do this….

claire2

 

 

Being fair doesn’t mean being equal

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I was watching an interview on TV today about women working from home instead of in the office once they have had children (revolutionary topic!?!?).

It reminded me how fortunate I am working for a company which has provided a flexible working environment which has changed from working full time in the office, to full time at home and pretty much every combo of them both in between throughout my career. Whilst I have been afforded this luxury, I know that not every workplace can be this flexible and on the flip side, there are some employees who exploit the flexibility provided to them. Making it a very tricky subject.

In the interview today they also talked about how other workers often look unfavorably upon women with children being given flexibility that they don’t feel like they are afforded.  Like the non-smoker who curses the smokers who get extra breaks, there are always those who will strike out with “..that’s not fair”.  Infact, I remember watching some of my colleagues coming into work at 9.30am and leaving bang on 5pm while I slaved away into the evening,  thinking “i’m never going to be one of those people”.

There is a great sign up at my kids school is says “Being fair doesn’t mean being equal.  It means everyone is getting what they need to succeed“.   I love this statement and annoy my kids with it all the time now.  Because it is so true.

As a Manager,  you need to work with everyone in your team individually.  To understand what is important to them, what do they need to lift them up higher and make them fabulous?   And what one person needs, is not what everyone needs.  And those needs can change dramatically throughout someone’s career.  Great Managers execute on this for their team because they know they will reap the rewards ten fold.

Now I am that person who sometimes comes in at 9.30am and leaves by 5pm.  I work from home a lot and walk the dog in my lunch break.   And I am 100 times more productive than I ever was when I was sitting at my desk for long hours wasting time judging my co-workers.

We need to stop comparing ourselves with others.  It’s not whether you have children or don’t. whether your a woman or a man. If the person in the seat next to you (or working from their office at home), isn’t getting the same as you,  that’s OK…infact, that’s just how it should be.