Be a superstar employee
Be a standout professional as soon as you start a career or a job. Do a great job. Know what it takes to rise quickly in your organisation, and do that. While you have the time and the energy, be the best employee you can be, then when you’re a working parent, you will have earned some flexibility. Companies, by the way, are most likely to allow that flexibility to retain top talent. Of course, your job as a veteran superstar is to show you’re good at learning new skills—like juggling.
Be true to yourself
Know who you are and what you want in life. If you are going to manage a job and nurture a family, stay true to what’s most important to you. There will be days when reading a story at your kid’s school will mean you need to take time out of the office. Don’t be apologetic about that. You need to find a workplace that allows employees to be honest about their lives. If someone is going to give you a hard time, deny you a promotion, or penalize you in any way because you’re living a full life, find a new place to excel.
Be honest: You’re not superhuman.
No one expects you to do everything and anything, be true to yourself, and your physical ability. You are more use to your organisation when you fit and able to do your job, then when when your not physically and mentally not up to it. Pace yourself and give yourself targets in which to achieve set tasks so you are not inundated with things to do. Remember….. Health before Wealth! You cannot spend your millions from beyond the grave.
Understand that your priorities and interests will change
I like to talk about “adaptable ambition.” Your ambition will ebb and flow over your lifetime. Your world view will shift as your life changes. It’s crazy to think that having children won’t rock your world. Just as having a sick parent or a sick friend forces you to re-examine your life and your priorities, having a child does that, too. It’s okay. You can set the world on fire at work without fanning the flames 24/7.
Realise that flexibility is a two-way street
If you’re lucky enough to find an enlightened company that can be flexible about where and when employees work, know that you’ll have to be flexible too. There will be trips, conferences, and work events you can’t miss, no matter what. And work sometimes eats into family time in the evenings and on weekends. It’s a mistake to expect flexibility without giving some back.
Before you join a company, understand its culture.
If you want flexibility about work but are reluctant to ask about it during the interview process, look and listen for clues that the company is family-friendly. Do managers have pictures of their kids on their desks? Is there talk of regular mandatory meetings that start at 7 a.m. or 6 p.m.? Will you be on the road three days a week? If they ask you what you like to do in your free time, do they offer to share how they spend theirs? Consider these before you decide if its an organisaton you’d want to join.
Face it: Some jobs aren’t right for you.
If having a balanced life is important to you, and you’re being true to yourself, there are some jobs you shouldn’t take and some companies you won’t join. Being happy is paramount, both at home and at work; and due to the nature of some businesses, the work-life balance of some organiations are not right for you and working but living in denial will have an effect not only on your work but on your family.