They say, when tackling your “to do” list to start with the hardest thing and then the rest of the things will seem easy. It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to talk about setting professional goals first.
When I was a child almost every single woman I knew was a stay-at-home-parent. With this as my model, even thinking of myself as a person with a career – any career – was not something I did growing up. As an adult I’ve struggled because the economic reality most of us find ourselves living in is that two incomes are necessary for survival. Since becoming a parent myself I’ve realized more than ever that having a career – rather than just a job – is the best way to provide for my family’s financial needs as well as their social, emotional, and other needs. Emilie Aires, Bridget Todd, and Tiffany Dufu recently talked at length about women with careers having the tools to create a sustainable existence. The data is there, and it is compelling.
If you, like me, grew up without any models for what a career looks like I’m glad we’re here to help and support each other.
If you’re already in the trenches, the parenting trenches that is, and you’re coming to the realization that you’d better get a handle on your working life take a deep breath. This is something you can do, that we can do together.
Let’s sit down and write out what your ideal work life would look like. Would your life be easier if you could drop your daughter off at school? Write it down. Do you want more professional development from your job? Write it down. Are you getting to the point were working is not worth the cost of daycare? Write that down and prepare to ask for a raise.
Now that you know what you want your work life to look like, let’s develop a plan for you to bring to your boss. This example I’m going to use is from my own life, but if it sounds good to you feel free to take it!
I would go to my boss and say “I am not feeling very satisfied professionally and I’d like to discuss some changes we could make so that we’re both getting what we need in the workplace. I am struggling because I can’t be there for the people in my life and I’ve plateaued in what I can learn during the work day. Would you be willing to allow me to adjust my schedule so that I can drop my daughter off at school and engage in daily professional development outside regular business hours? Because I’ll be learning new skills to enhance my position, I also think it’s reasonable to ask for a seven percent increase in my salary.”
A reasonable supervisor (and I know we’ve all had ones that don’t exactly fit that bill) will engage you in that conversation. After all, you are a smart and talented employee that they are lucky to have! Maybe they can’t accommodate everything you’re looking for, so be prepared to prioritize what you need to make your work life work for you and be willing to engage in creative solutions.
What are some professional goals you’ve set and how have you achieved them?