Our thoughts on business, leadership, jobs, careers, workplace issues and life in New Zealand
What is it about having a baby that makes us decide to also throw into the mix renovating the house, selling up, starting a new business, or in my case moving countries? That was what I did at the beginning of 2011, when I moved from Australia to New Zealand with an 11-day-old-baby. Admittedly the move was to Queenstown, which I regard as the most beautiful place in the world, so really I can’t complain.
So I found myself in Queenstown with an 11-day-old and a two-and-half-year-old, no family, no friends and no job (having just left a highly successful career as a Senior Manager with an IT Recruitment company to “do something different and have time out”). All the while there was a voice in my head screaming ‘What are you doing? This is crazy!’ Oh, I also forgot to mention that I had recently separated from my husband (but that’s another story and thankfully we are now back together).
So there I was, 32, alone and wondering for the first time in a long time (or possibly ever), ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ I was starting over. I was in between jobs and in a new country with no personal or professional network. Believe me it would have been the easiest thing in the world to jump back over the ‘ditch’ to the safety and comfort of what I knew. However, I am a firm believer that nothing worth doing is ever going to be easy, so I took it for what it was - an amazing opportunity to create the life I wanted.
I look back now to what has been the most amazing 12 months of my life. I have made real connections with people and have made friends with for life, I have quality time with my family, I am part of my community, I am “present” and my career is well and truly back on track. I am the General Manager at Madison Group, a collection of specialist recruitment companies.
I have observed that when women are in between jobs, or on parental leave, there is a lack of confidence when it comes to their career and the prospect of returning to work. However, on the flip side of that, when we return to work we are pleasantly surprised at how quickly we fit back in, and how much knowledge we have actually gained and retained. It is important to maintain your skills whilst on leave, be proactive and seek out opportunities that engage you to retain and build on your skills. Decide what you want, go for it and believe in yourself. Focus on want you want and not on what you don’t want!
A few simple philosophies I have lived by in the last 12 months:
This article was published in the April/May edition of 'Her' magazine.