The accepted wisdom, especially if you are working in a london city law firm, is you can’t make partner if you are female and want to have kids. In this article I discuss how you can have both – partnership AND motherhood.
How to have it all: Make partner AND have a young family
The Lawyer Magazine in June 2016, profiled Jannan Crozier and her career story, a corporate lawyer at Baker & McKenzie. What was interesting about this career story was Janna was pregnant through the partnership application process, and went on maternity leave one month after being made up in 2015.
Jannan, similar to many lawyers at the start of their career in practice, wanted to make partner. Unlike many London City Lawyers, Jannan followed through on that ambition as well as combining this with motherhood. In the article, Jannan shares some great pearls of wisdom, one of which particularly matches my thinking:
It’s not about ‘having it all’, it’s about what’s important to you
Know what ‘having a life’ means to you
I recently ran an event for ‘women in property’ where I was asked the question, how to have it all? In fact, is it possible to have it all? My stance on this is it is perfectly possible. But the question you need to answer first is:
What does having a life really mean for me?
Far too many professionals in practice, in my opinion, have never really answered this question for themselves. Is it any wonder that the elusive “having it all” remains just that, “elusive”.
When you know what ‘having a life’ means for you, then you can – like Jannan – really answer the question ‘what is important to me?’. It’s only when you have clarity over what is important to you, can you start to fully “have the life”.
Compromise is important
Like Jannan, I don’t believe that as a women in business it is ever possible to fully have it all. You are always – just as if you are male – going to have to make choices about what is really important to you. That is going to involve a level of compromise, and that’s OK. This isn’t about passing or failing if you need to compromise. That’s life sometimes.
Have a support team around you
There was a reason that historically women who started a family normally didn’t go back to work. It’s hard work feeding and looking after a family. I can’t be the only mother who has a sense of dread when one of their little darlings says “my tummy hurts”. There is no doubt about it that being a working mother is a juggling act. This means you need a support team around you to help you be the best you can be, whether you are with the family or at work. In ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘ I talk about your support team and exactly who needs to be in it.
The key to having it all, is not striving to have it all, but work out what’s important to you. Then work towards making that happen.