Archive for August, 2008

Career Or Babies But Not Both

August 7, 2008

 

 

AT the age of twenty-five, I made a conscious decision that mapped out the rest of my life.

 

I chose a career over marriage and children. I realised even at this early age I could not do both to the best of my ability.

 

I started my working life at the bottom of the career ladder with no qualifications to speak of. I joined the Aviation Industry working in the cargo division. It was and still is to some extent a totally male dominated environment. But I was prepared to muck in and get my hands dirty. I was also totally committed to the team and the company and never let them down for any reason including never having to juggle work and family life (I went on the Kilroy Show several years ago; the topic was “Women In Business”. I was amazed how many women demanded their rights).

 

Because of this attitude of hard work, loyalty and 100% work ethic I was promoted on average every three years.

 

Once I became part of the management team my work ethic grew even stronger and I became a workaholic. I had no problems with this because my decision to not have babies allowed me the freedom to commit to this lifestyle.

 

Working for an airline, the amount of travelling I had to do overseas was huge. I would have hated to either turn promotion down because of this or worse still say I could not travel on a certain business trip because of family commitments. In my eyes that would have been totally unacceptable and unprofessional at management and director level.

 

What would have happened if I was working on something that involved meeting a tight deadline or was attending an important meeting and I got a call that my child was ill? What would have happened if I was tending to my child’s needs when I was expected to suddenly put in extra hours at work?

 

 

My commitment to work or family would have been severely tested and I have never wanted to put myself in a position where I would have had to choose.

 

I have a 100% duty of care to both roles.

 

I have therefore been a successful, workaholic businesswoman all my working life. I am not saying that this is the only way to get promotion but it worked for me and I know I gained the opportunities mainly because of my attitude and not through positive discrimination. The rewards of that alone were so beneficial to my self-confidence and belief that the decision I made all those years ago had paid off. I worked hard and became Ground Operations Director responsible for the airports worldwide and was the first female in the history of the company to become a director. I then spent three years on the board of a company as Sales and Marketing Director. My last career role was to run my own business for five, very successful years.

 

 During my career, I never experienced any prejudice from my male colleagues, perhaps because I was prepared to be their colleague rather than a wife and mother!

 

So the harsh question to women who believe they can have both is,

 

“How?”