Tag Archives: Career

How to be a working parent – in 90 minutes…

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It takes me one and a half hours to get to work. Pfew.

Fifteen years ago I would’ve jumped off the train half-way and walked the rest just to be doing something. Now, its only just enough.

Because now I have three kids/three kids have me.

That ninety minute journey is decompression. Ninety minutes of acclimatising. Ninety minutes of recalibration.

Shorthand – desperately needed!

That’s because there’s four environmental changes my brain needs to absorb before i can mentally clock in…

Unreasonable-ness to reasonable-ness

Kids are irrational. Life is unliveable for Steo (my 4 yr old) about eight times before 9am. For toast reasons, tracksuit pant reasons, Texta reasons, iPad reasons. I see my role as diplomacy more often than not – negotiating the kids towards lunch, school, toothpaste, medicine, etc.

Unless you have a baby-boss ‘ T rump’ in charge, or clients/colleagues of a similar ilk, this skill doesn’t get a work-out at work.

So I need to reassign this energy. In 90 mins.

Inefficiency to productivity

I will not be thanked for providing a new banana to a colleague because hers broke as she peeled it. Cutting my lunch into 16 squares to make it more appetising will be what it is – a waste of time. I will only need to present that document one time, not three “because I didn’t read it in the right voice”. I’m at work now. Make stuff, do stuff, the quickest, smartest, most cost-effective way possible , please.

Come to grips. In 90 mins.

Chaos to predictability

Fright-and-flight peaks in parenting. I run a low grade cortisol level constantly – glands are at the ready to thrust in adrenaline with the next blood-curdling scream/sibling face punch/broken limb/food-or-drink spillage/broken window , etc . etc. ” The only constant is change ” is no longer a sweet meme.  ” Plan nothing” is your mantra.

Until ” Plan Everything ” is. At work.

WIPs, progress sheets, planning meetings, account managers, ‘next steps’, timing spreadsheets, base-touching. The sweet smell of predictability.

Adjust. in 90 mins.

TMI to politics

“I’m going to do a poo, can you wipe my bottom? ” is not something I will hear in my working day. Neither is “I’ll rip your guts open if you don’t give me back that transformer/apple/ texta/etc”. “I hate you mummy”; “What are these? ” *pointing to tampons/pads/breasts* ; are all thankfully home-chat. ‘Face-value’ is turbo-charged – ‘in-your-face-value’.

No ditto at work.

Double-meanings are everywhere. What does that stiff email from the client mean?

W ho is the ’right person’ to approve that change? Did you make sure everyone on that project had a say , and signed off that document? Understanding agendas, hierarch ie s, and role expectations , is all par for  the course.

Prepare yourself. In 90 mins.

So , I say again, praise the long journey to work…

And praise the gifted employer – like mine – who understands these shifts, allows for them , and facilitates them.

They will profit from them.

They’ll have a workforce of elastic brains: responsive; flexible ; and ready. Undemanding, grounded and pragmatic.

People who, when shit hits the fan , are:

1) ready to clean it off ; 2) know what stuff to use to clean it off ; 3) will find out patiently and fairly sewho  shit it is, and how it go t  there ;  4) smooth everything over with ice creams so it doesn’t happen again.

These wise words come from the brain of Mandy Lawler.

Finding your ‘why’

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How sustainable is the ‘Do what you love’ mantra?

Miya Tokumitsu, author of ‘Do What You Love And Other Lies About Success and Happiness’, says, in an interview with The Altantic, she feels there’s a sort of dark hedonism in the pursuit of this ideal – like an addiction, where one is relentlessly seeking those “good feelings.”

Is this another way of saying that the ‘too much of a good thing’ principle can apply to a career based only on ‘love’?

Case in point – I worked in a café for 6 months surrounded by delicious food (my ‘happy place’) and ended up 10kgs heavier and very unfulfilled!

So, I think better advice is to find what ‘we care about’.

We are constantly telling organisations to find and commit to their ‘why’ and communicate this through a meaningful brand, but we don’t necessarily put the same pressures on ourselves.

I think a lot of the reason is that it’s easier said than done for most of us.

There’s mortgages to pay, bills to deal with, kids to raise, cars to fix – wistfully pursuing a noble vocation that usually translates to little $$ might be a bit pie-in-the-sky.

So how on earth do those of us stuck in a ‘what’ get some ‘why’ in our lives? How do we fish out the ‘vocation’ in our ‘profession’?

We might find some answers in the endless advice on ‘careers’ and ‘callings’ littered through
the internet.

Here’s two phrases I came across, for instance, that resonate with me…

‘Consider your epitaph, not your resume’

What do you really want to be remembered for? Read out your eulogy in your head – are you happy with what’s being said? What change can you make in your next career move that carves out more of your epitaph and less of your resume?

‘Find a problem to solve‘

How can I make my professional skill work to help fix a societal problem? Is there something I can do after hours, something I could suggest as an extra-curricular activity at work that makes a difference in a way I know will be fulfilling?

It’s not easy, but getting little bit of ‘why’ in our everyday work lives might go a long way.

Incidentally, I’ve now found my ‘why’ here at MamaTray where I now eat a lot less sandwiches and use my strategy smarts to help other organisations find their ‘why’. Ha!

These wise words come from the brain of Mandy Lawler.

The Importance of Being Earnest

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Let’s do a little exercise…

Swap your LinkedIn profile pic for your Facebook profile pic for a day – or maybe even a week – and see what happens. My bet is you’ll get question-marks, a lotta likes, heaps of giggle emojis and a few job offers from places you didn’t think existed! If you’re anything like me, the two are pretty different.

That’s the backside of my first born when he was 8 months (he’s 6 now but not much has changed!) on my Facebook profile pic (I’ve two more little bottoms to add to that now!) – can’t see that bringing in too many job offers on LI!

The thing is though, it says more about me than my actual LinkedIn pic. Only a touch more mind you, because my LinkedIn profile pic is a bit of a giggle too – two haircuts for the price of one! Anyway… Try this experiment with all your mates!

Have a look at their LinkedIn profile pics and then their Facebook ones. Which is closer to
the person you know and love? I’m guessing the Facebook one. So why do we put on our
Sunday best Maclean smiles and good angles for LinkedIn and save the bedheads and craycray’s for Facey?

What version of ourselves are we presenting to future employers? The version we have
the energy to maintain around the office 1, 3 or 5 years into the future? That’s a lot of
whitening toothpaste!!

Instead, why not find a happy medium? Ask yourself – does the person in that pic look like it could be me from 5 – 9, not just ‘9 to 5’? If yes, upload! Now, I don’t mean legs over head,
Bacardi Breezer all over dress, blowing a vuvuzela at a hen’s do, but someone you can deliver easily, comfortably and honestly everyday – that doesn’t require you to have ‘work clothes’ and ‘rest-of-life clothes’!

If you’re having trouble deciding on the perfect shot, you’ve got a ready made panel of judges in your mates!

These wise words come from the brain of Mandy Lawler.