Parenting is quite exciting and the fun part is usually when the kids are grown enough to be sent on on “silly adult” errands. You are within your rights to put your legs on the table and call on them to either change the television channel or simply hand you the remote control that is just a few steps away from you. These are some of the perks that come with the role and the kids accept them with exasperated resignation. It builds the character afterall.
But it is not always fun and games; parenthood comes with its own challenges. As a working mother, one is caught between excelling in the workplace and ensuring that the parenting role is not compromised. Folks in the private sector might not have it as flexible as their counterparts in the public sector. I remember the early years of trying to shape a career in the banking sector and the endless challenges that came with creating a balance as a working mother. Suffice it to say that it was a herculean task and when the opportunity came to move to the public sector, I embraced it with joy and relief.
Several years later, I still consider this to be the very best decision to have taken at that time as it has been well worth the while. The decision came with tradeoffs like getting a pay cut, moving into a sector that was rumored to be notorious for choosing nepotism over rewarding competence,etc. Fortunately, it was a pleasant surprise to note that the latter fear had been based on mere unfounded rumor.
My first on-the-job shock after moving to the public sector was finding out that folks actually come to work early. I had a supervisor who approached public service in a way that was quite delightful and remarkable; she would always show up before 8am, her break time was within the stipulated one hour frame and closing time was never before 4:30pm. This was a truly happy occurrence for me as I had already embraced these habits and it served as reinforcement in keeping me on that path.
She made me understand that despite the fact that folks tolerated excuses much more than those in the private sector, being accountable was still best practice. Further observation revealed that she rarely put herself in situations where excuses had to be made for being absent or not pulling her weight at work. This ensured that when an excuse finally arose, it was accepted without skepticism.
This is the first in a weekly series where I would attempt to chronicle the journey of balancing excellence in the workplace and at home as a parent. The bigger picture will be to share some field thoughts on developing a culture of excellence in the work place. It will be sandwiched between fact and fiction to make sure that identities are preserved. In other words, the series will be a journey steeped in faction (mix of facts and fiction).
Author: Blossom Ozurumba
About: Blossom is a personal branding enthusiast and has a day job at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation where she provides Technical Advisory on Media and Strategic Communication to the Honorable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources. During an academic leave in 2014, she founded Digital Media Development Initiative, focused on advancing use of digital media for sustainable development.