Over the past few weeks, Faye has been an active particpant in the #raisingtheprofile Twitter chats, and so I asked her to share some of her thoughts about the lessons she has learned.
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There was a lot of great advice and insightful discussion during Jane Wilson’s #raisingtheprofile chat, but what intrigued me most was Jane turning the conversation on its head, directing a very interesting question at us:
I was surprised to learn that many young women, like me, did feel there was pressure regarding the work/life balance, and it was reassuring to see that we were united in our woes.
This question sparked similar response between four female PR students simultaneously:
Myself @FayeOakey (Leeds Metropolitan University (1)): I do, as our industry is a constant learning curve it’s worrying that in future we will [have] limited time to keep up to date with current trends and tech
Anne-Marie Bailey @AM_Bailey (University of Sunderland (MA): I do! Maybe it’s because I’m slightly older though! Not sure how you would go about it! How did you manage?
Hannah Powley @Hannah_Monster (Huddersfield University (4)): Slightly, worrying that the only solution you hear is go in-house or change career
Jazz Chappell @jazzchappell (Leeds Metropolitan University (1)): YES I actually do! As PR is more than 9-5, child care, travel etc, don’t understand how it all fits in
Jane, herself a hugely successful PR professional and family woman, had of course some nuggets of advice, so that neither work nor ‘life’ should suffer whilst the other thrives.
She stressed that a good support network is important, as is confidence, and that we should be realistic about what we want. Wise words wouldn’t you agree?
Setting achievable goals is in my experience (albeit limited) is a fantastic aid to success. I’m not saying we shouldn’t aim too high (after all, there is as they say, plenty of room) but being focussed about what we would like to achieve and grabbing opportunities as they come along helps us to note our successes and builds confidence in our ability.
Jane did however acknowledge that it is a big issue for the CIPR and advised that we should look out for a forthcoming report on gender balance and PR, from the CIPR and Hanson Search – I sure will be. She also showed her GSOH, saying a good solution to achieving work/life balance is to ‘marry a feminist’.
I’ve since done some reading on the topic, and by the way, there is a lot of information out there, reinforcing again that work/life balance is a common worry. The BBC devotes a webpage to ‘finding the right balance’ for emotional health, with plenty of tips and advice.
Alison Kenney, a PR practitioner in Boston devoted a blog post to the topic saying we should forget the word ‘balance’ and set boundaries instead.
Similarly, Leslie A Perlow, Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, even conducted research, concluding that we are successaholics rather than workaholics, and in order to be successful we don’t need to be switched on 24/7, rather, taking breaks helps productivity flow.
Reassuringly I found that the 2012 National Study of Employers (USA) reported that efforts to help people balance work and family has increased, despite the recession.
And so rather fittingly, Jane offered the advice that we can have it all:
So what did I learn? Do what you love! Love your career and your successes, but just as importantly love your family and your free time.
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Another great post I hope you’ll agree! Thanks Faye for putting your thoughts together to share with us all.
Don’t forget, later tonight I’ll be revealing the next PR pro to take part in #raisingtheprofile. It really is invaluable career advice you can’t find anywhere else, so make sure you’re involved!
And . . . I’ll be announcing some very exciting news too!