Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Part VI – Sweet Success & Bitter Truths

Sales Manager for three European countries – I made it! My hard work and loyalty finally paid off.

I had turned around a critically underperforming division and grew profit margins by over 500%, won major key accounts and trained a team of sales people to assist with the growing demand.

If I had thought that I had achieved the ultimate goal and now I could find some balance my lifestyle, I was sadly mistaken.
Of course it only got more busy yet again and now that I was part of the management, I was invited to global events such as sales meetings in San Diego, training events in Dallas, Texas whilst the pressure to keep increasing revenue and profits was ever more paramount.

A part of me loved the ‘high flying’ career, the recognition and financial remuneration not to mention the five star hotels I had become accustomed to. Flying business class and taking clients out for lavish treats was part of my ‘scorching dessert’.

But the affect it had on my family was detrimental. My husband and I had completely grown apart. We didn’t seem to have anything in common anymore. When trying to figure things out by going on a family vacation, I was shocked how far removed I had become from my son as well. I did not know what he liked for breakfast???!!!

My husband and son had a very close relationship due to them spending so much time together and whilst on holiday, it felt that I was no part of it anymore.

What had happened? When did it all go wrong? And why did my attempt for a better life for us all backfire so badly?

To be continued…

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gender Equality

Do you think you would find a man and a father ever reflecting on his career and consider the impact it had on his family? That's right - not at all possible. He would believe, he had done the very best for his wife and kids and no-one would question his motives otherwise.

Then why do we feel we have to justify ourselves for doing well? Explain, why we have given our career equal focus to our families and sometimes even more? Thinking that we have to make it up to everyone around us!

Are we still fighting the battle of gender equality? Is it society? Or is it our own expectations and perceptions? We certainly feel responsible to our children and spouses and want to ensure that home and life is running smoothly for everyone. Don't forget, we are really the first generation who is striving to have it all!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Part IV – Juggle is a Struggle

Professional success can be a funny thing for a mother. Now, that I had carved out my career and had my first promotion, somehow there seemed to be a division from other moms in my son’s class. It is one thing of having to work full time to support the family however it seemed to be quite another to be a woman with ambition!

As much as I would have liked to be involved in my child’s environment, I was always rushing off to some important meeting. Once promoted into a field sales position to continue building strong relationships with customers I had acquired through my telesales activities, I would now have to spend days and weeks travelling around Germany to visit clients.

At this point 50% of my time was invested into travel and soon this would be getting more and more difficult to manage without any outside help.

I would continue to compensate for lack of quality time through amazing presents and lavish outings.

Anyone who has worked in the corporate world will know that you do get recognized for the amount of time you are prepared to invest. If you are there before your boss and leave hours after he has gone, well, you are considered potential for a management position. Strangely, productivity is measured in man hours more so than results.

Of course, it is wrong to assume that you must work at least 12 hours per day to be considered a committed employee. But I didn’t make the rules, I just followed them same as everyone who wants to get ahead in business.

So I continued to do my very best and was rewarded with more responsibility and expensive training courses in London in preparation for my promotion to Sales Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

To be continued…