Thursday, 13 June 2019

You Can Have It All But You Don't Need To

In my 20s when I went into job interviews in my smart suit and high heels and sat in front of a panel of impressive-looking interrogators, I was always asked the same question:
"How do you see yourself five years from now?"
I suppose that's how the corporate world attempts to purge out the unambitious, and I was always ready to give out a remarkable answer to prove that I was. But it has been 15 years since I started my professional life as a qualified accountant with notable credentials working for a top global firm and over 10 years since I have moved to Western Europe, yet I have successfully avoided the steep climb required to reach any corporate ladder.

They say that there is no better time to be a woman because nothing hinders you from having it all: a high flying career, a happy family and everything in between. And there are women who manage to do it, from people within my circle of influence to the ones I happily read about in the Saturday Times. I admire and respect them but I will not take up their mantle any day soon.

It took me awhile to come to this realization. That I can be a woman who doesn't have it all and not feel like I have failed big time. That I can be a mother who works full time and a productive employee who occasionally works from home so I will never miss any of my child's important school events. That I can be happy in a job that doesn't promise linear progression but provides an atmosphere that welcomes creativity and innovation, without pressures of deadlines and client presentations. That I can travel abroad not to work but to have shared experiences with people that matter. That I can spend my holidays without looking at work emails and my evenings watching KDramas or catching up on learning the Japanese Kanji. That I can perfectly enjoy my weekends of having our breakfast at the local pub, or watching my little boy score goals at his football matches or meeting up with friends on play dates. That I don't need to try so hard to reach for the stars because all I really need are right next to me.

On an interview in my current workplace, I had to explain why I kept shifting jobs between an accountant and a software tester and it wasn't difficult to explain that I took on jobs that would work around the needs of my family with a company that would value my contributions.

So here I am hitting mid-30s, on just a slightly higher than average UK salary without employment responsibilities that would make a significant change to the world or the community but my greatest achievements will always be in becoming "the bestest Mummy in the world" according to Isaac and the other half to a marriage of equals in every sense of the world.

I don't have it all, but I don't need to. 

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