In this week’s 10 Minute Coffee Break, our Sis, Jay gave us an insight into what being a working woman in this day and age meant to her, how she perceived the working world as a teen and whether she felt pressured to hit carer milestones by a certain age.
What is your current motivation to succeed as a working woman? Has it changed much over the years?
For me, the motivation has always been the same… Money! If you don’t have money, then you can’t provide for yourself or your family. I would say that my motivation to make money has changed from myself to my family and stability. In addition, it is definitely a positive for my kids to be able to see that good work ethics pays off.
As a teen, what were your perceptions of being a working woman?
I didn’t necessarily have a perception, to be honest. However, from my experience, I do feel that schools and colleges do not prepare young people enough for the working world. You have CV workshops and mock interviews, etc. They teach you how to get the job, but not what to expect once you actually start working. You find that once you start working, work isn’t the problem, it’s balancing work with real life that is the issue. Even more so for working mums. Schools and colleges don’t prepare you for that bit.
Did you ever feel under pressure by society or family to have it “all together” in terms of work? Or to hit certain milestones by a certain age? If yes, how has this affected you today?
In terms of academics, I was encouraged by family to pursue certain avenues. I wouldn’t say, however, that I felt pressured to hit milestones by a certain age. The avenues that I was encouraged to pursue were interesting, although, they may not have been my first choice, personally. In saying that, I knew that they were beneficial choices. I was always allowed to choose, ultimately, what I studied. There was a point during school that I wanted to pursue becoming an art director. However, I was told that it wasn’t the best choice as it wasn’t the most lucrative. This could have been something I could have explored further and ended up really enjoying, though it is a very niche market.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and when it is supposed to. I’ve never felt the pressure or the need to have it “all together” by a certain time. I do, however, feel that because of today’s cost of living, women do have to make a difficult choice between following their chosen career paths and having a family. One can have a detrimental affect on the other. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever have it “all together”. Life happens and you have to adapt. One thing that Disney has taught us, is that life is like a river and “the water’s always changing, always flowing” – Pocahonatas 1995.
I try to encourage my children to make sensible choices. That does not mean that I tell them what to do, but guidance is important. I believe that they should be pushed towards their strengths, whether that is academic or vocational. There is no point banging a square peg into a round hole. They should also pursue whatever it is that they enjoy.
If you could give younger you some advice for the future, in terms of entering the working world, what would it be?
I would tell myself to explore some part-time avenues to allow for more me time.
If you could give older you some advice for the future, given what you know now about the working world, what would it be?
Prior preparation prevents poor performance! I want to start preparing more for my later life, so that I can enjoy it and my family as much as possible.
Finally, if you could give some advice to someone struggling with which avenue to go down, in terms of work, what would it be?
Sharing is caring. Share your problems with someone, often times a solution will sprout out of talking about it. It is important to have good network around you, whether it is family, friends, colleagues, a mentor, etc. Their advice could be invaluable and could make a world of difference.
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