James's blog: Progression

We have just returned from an early summer holiday in the UK.  As seems to be the norm for our family holidays, my wife and I took the opportunity of some downtime to reassess our lifestyles and what is (and, particularly, what isn't) working.

I've just come off the back of a horrendous couple of months at work, working pretty much every hour that I haven't been sleeping (and there were very few hours where I was sleeping!).  This has led to considerably increased pressure on my wife to juggle domestic responsibilities with her job.

With apologies for appearing "whiny" (it is my first day back in the office, which no doubt is contributing to my pensive disposition), but I feel like we work hard and earn decent salaries, so shouldn't life be a little bit easier?  My wife and I have compiled a list of the various aspects of our life that we would like to improve.  We conclude that each aspect could be markedly improved if I give less of myself to my job and hold a bit more back for myself and my family.  The problem with that, however, is that everyone is always striving to progress, to get promoted, to reach the top.  I already feel like my career is stagnating a bit.  The opportunities for progression seem quite limited unless I'm prepared to give up my part-time working arrangements.  Giving less of myself to my job doesn't feel like an option if I'm to achieve my career goals.

But on reflection, why am I striving to progress?  The extra money would be nice, but is not essential.  The prestige of promotion appeals to my vanity, but I need to get over that.  The real reason is probably the same as the reason that I progressed from studying law at university to becoming a City lawyer: everyone else is doing it and I don't want to be left behind.  The truth is that having to prioritise career advancement through your late 20s through to your early 40s is terrible timing from the point of view of having and nurturing a family.  Would it be better if we could coast through our careers more at this stage and then make a push when our children were older?  I would like to think so, but the "up or out" approach of a number of City firms is contradictory to that.  As is my work ethic and desire to always do my best.  However, if I'm to have the family life I desire (for myself and my wife and daughter), I will have to detach from work more readily.  That might mean that I stagnate a bit more and that I don't get that promotion I would like.  But it will give me a bit more headspace to focus on the things that matter most to me, so I'm going to try it for a few months.  I'll let you know how I get on…

I would like to finish this blog by saying a big thank you to those who have read and commented on my previous blogs.  I enjoy reading your comments and your support is hugely appreciated.  Thank you!

James and his wife are both lawyers in the City. Both work part time to try to juggle school pick ups for their young daughter.

Category: A Cityfather's Diary

Comments
Ria Moore - 24/07/2018 - 12:52

Hi James - good blog and thanks for sharing. I struggle with this as well so encouraging to know it's not just me! I've also been minimising my life and getting clear on the things that really matter to me (and not just what everyone says should matter at this stage of life!). Good luck with your journey and let us know how this recent 'experiment' turns out!

Temi Faturoti - 24/07/2018 - 13:03
This resonates with me so much. Thank you for writing
Dipti Lad - 24/07/2018 - 13:44
Its a very interesting article and something I can totally relate to. For me, the fustration of not being paid what I am worth, does not always sit well with maintaining a work life balance, especially when I feel that I have really put in alot of hard work in the initial part of my career. And thats why I feel that there is a need to strive to better ones self in order to achieve this recognition. 
Kamal Dhillon - 25/07/2018 - 10:04
Hi James, your blog this week really resonates with me. Having returned to work from my third and final mat leave, I was raring to go, aiming for promotion etc.  Then real life sets in and the juggling of work/family. I went through the exact same thought process and landed at the same place - extra money/promotion would be nice but do I really need it/is it worth the sacrifice to home life and time with my children. I decided to focus on keeping a balance too. I have to admit it is not always easy, (especially feeling like you are falling behind), but then I remind myself why.  Priorities change as we get older and have a family, its that old saying "i'm not going to look back on my deathbed and wish i'd worked harder/longer". Good luck 
Jasma Jobanputra - 01/08/2018 - 07:45
I can really relate to this and I struggle even though I am not part-time but fulltkmw and therefore it's worse as I spend even less time with the children!! And recently inhave female friends who are in their early 50s and are convinced that no one wants to hire or promote an older woman! So I feel more pressure as I am 41 - to get career advancement now or never! But as you say - isn't family more important at this time whilst the children are still only 5 and 7 and really need us?!

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