In the past, I have often felt guilty when my children screamed for attention in the middle of late evening office conference calls. No matter how hard you try and avoid such calls; lets face it, we all end up getting into those just to connect with folks who are unreachable during the day. I have apologized profusely for the interruptions and begged to be ignored for a while. For a long time, I have even considered myself incapable of being a good professional as long as I had children by my side.
10 years of juggling children and work, and yet rising in my career, has taught me one thing – Children don’t hold you back in your career. When your manager promotes you in spite of the many interrupted conference calls, it shows that you are much more valuable to him than the interruptions. Of late, I have encouraged my team not to feel guilty about their home situation during office meetings. Just the fact that they have been able to get on to the call, leaving the family at a stand by, shows the commitment they have towards their work. So what, if the little one wants a toy RIGHT NOW or has an urgent need to go relieve himself, in between the call. It is perfectly all right! You can just put the phone on mute and let the water run in the background.
The career options we have chosen, doesn’t have to necessarily translate into a less active family life. My son and daughter are both known to work on my laptop, once in a while, and send gibberish messages to the office chat groups. Well, if my manager expects me to carry work home, he better be prepared for the gibberish messages as well. I refuse to apologize for them anymore. In fact, the office teams have a good laugh at the messages, trying to interpret the coded words.
Being a parent is a blessing! Being able to adopt a full time career along with being a parent is a double blessing. Why should I ever feel guilty about it? As long as I am adding more positive value than the nuisance value that my children bring to the table, I know, my organization will continue to promote me.
If you are reading this, please have your children be more active during office meetings/activities and office. I sincerely believe children have a lot to learn from, once in a while, office experience. If we can bring work home, we have every right to take our home to work too!
P.S. We have a nice little children area in our Hyderabad office. We can look at creating something in our other offices too.