I want to just put it out there; I’m grateful that women have the opportunity to define the space and place that they want to occupy in this world. I truly believe that we are able to “have it all” as they say. That said, I have learned that not everyone feels that way. Today, I want to address a topic that was brought to my attention about two weeks ago by an industry friend.
We were together at a wedding when she pulled me aside and mentioned that there were times when she felt like a lot of women (she actually said “most”) in our industry have to downplay their familial roles in order to have a successful career in this business. I was humbled when she referred to me as “brave” because I talk about my family quite often and that I publicly write about how important they are in my life.
Yes, I openly say that they will always come first (and they will). You see, it wasn’t always that way for me. There was a time when I also did this to a certain degree. I remember early in my career when I was told that I would not become Senior Vice President of the organization I worked for unless I was a full time employee. At the time, I had to make a decision. Although the title was important to me, I chose to take a pay cut and the lesser title in order to be there for my middle child. This allowed me to work from home two days a week. It took me another two years to obtain a title that would have already been mine had I chosen to work five days a week 24 months earlier.
I’m grateful that Preston values family as much as I do and that he is aware about all the obstacles that can come our way while raising one. I am aware that not everyone works for someone who shares these values or chooses to showcase them in a professional environment.
With that in mind, I would like to share with you of a few things that always help me make the right choice when faced with having to choose between career and family:
It’s ok to slow down in your career if it means that you and your family members will lead a happier life.
Establish your priorities from the start and make them known to your employer or just to yourself. If you have certain time limitations, be upfront about it. Establish your guidelines.
Important milestones like birthdays only happen once a year. A very wise woman once told me “whatever you do, never miss your child’s birthday, they never come back.” This is particularly difficult in the service industry.
Flipping a coin always helps me make decisions that are right for me. I tend to know what outcome I want as soon as the coin is in the air.
If you are struggling to about making the decision to have a child or not, please know that there is no need to seek approval. This is a very personal and private decision that only you have the power to make. Stay true to you and your heart always.
I want to ask all of you to share your thoughts on this topic. Do you feel you have to downplay your family in this business?
With a happy heart,
Kathy Romero is the CEO and Head of Global Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every other Thursday.