Hope & Passion
Every so often I’m asked to share my story at work. I am sharing my responses here because I feel strongly that sharing my story – helps others share their stories. Stories of hope, stories of inspiration, stories to help motivate taking the next step.
In this particular case, they are collecting stories and advice for celebrating Mother’s Day. Here are my responses to the questions.
As a working mom, how do you (try) achieve work-life balance?I must be very organized. I review my calendar and my to-do items frequently to make sure I can accomplish all key tasks. For me, it is about juggling many balls in the air at the same time.
How does Philips helped you to achieve this balance? Have you had to make concessions in your career to “do it all”? I’ve redefined what it truly means to me ‘to do it all’. At the Simmons Leadership Conference, a speaker said many employees are now exploring career lattices instead of the tradition career ladder. My career is more like a lattice and I’ve learned and grown from each role I’ve been in.
Who do you turn to for work life balance advice? Do you have a role-model? Early in my career, I built a network of colleagues who I can always trust to give me honest feedback and advice. I keep them posted on my journey – the positives and the negatives.
What has been the best advice you’ve received (or given) to others trying to achieve a successful work/life balance? Merge your work and passion. Identify what drives you internally and work towards a career in that area. It takes some work to explore different options but for me, it was an imperative. Working in my passion allows me to have energy to take on projects.
For those who know me, motherhood has not been as easy as those questions appear. I worked at Lucent and had been recently promoted when I found out I was pregnant with Alexis and Kaitlyn. Since I had anticipated early delivery with twins, we had worked to identify a colleague to transition my work – but then that was put into immediate effect when Kaitlyn died at 29 weeks and I was put on strict bedrest. When Alexis had so many medical issues, I was fortunate to take extra time off and then have a “slow-to-return-to-work” schedule (started at 10hrs / week then evolved to 40 hrs / week over 6 months). By then Alexis was 8 months old. After settling in, Jessica was born about 9months later – surprise!
My work allowed me the flexibility to work from home and complete my tasks in a very flexible schedule. I was very fortunate that I had supportive bosses, team members and employees. (Yes, even as a Mom of two kids, juggling doctors appointments, organizing 15 hrs of early intervention for Alexis – I was managing a team of 5 engineers while working full time – from home!) It was a wonderful life, but I was starving my passion – helping more kids like Alexis. Making healthcare better. Taking some of the #whatifhc ideas to the real world instead of just floating around my mind.
As Alexis turned 3 and started in full time school, I was fortunate to be hired at Philips Healthcare in Andover. It was just what the doctor ordered – working for a company with passion. In that time I’ve been able to share Alexis’ story, get a patent for a device we use for Alexis each day, and start working on a lighting product for kids with visual impairments. (A short 4 years!)
For me, following your passion means that there are extra hours in the day. Extra hours to support the next parent, extra hours to lend an ear to a colleague, extra hours to follow key influencers on Twitter, etc. It also means that I’m not afraid of the “Ask”. I am aware that “asking” may get many “no” responses and I only need one “yes”. And I am persistent because I’m driven by my passion and I have the belief in hope for the future. I truly wear Rose colored glasses.