Linda's blog: Time to be proactive

When I wrote my last blog it was May and we were literally on our knees.  I can’t bear to re-read my brutally honest words.  What a difference a few months can make.  The chink of light that was the potential re-opening of nurseries became a reality, we were able to see our ageing parents, summer holiday clubs opened and we are gradually re-orienting ourselves into a parred down version of life before lockdown. 

The extent to which life is so much better is best demonstrated by the fact that I have been able to come up for air and find some time to reflect on my job. Whilst the last five months are not a standard sample by which to judge anything, lockdown has made me realise that I am not happy at work. The fundamental issues I face are things I can‘t change and others won’t change them either. It is a sad reality that whilst the reputation of some companies will have fared well or even improved as a result of the way they've dealt with Covid-19, for others, it will be quite the reverse. Certain behaviours and decisions, once seen, can’t be forgotten.

The very real and continuing risk of being made redundant has made me think about how I will feel and what I will do if it happens.  I have realised that although I can’t control that decision, I am in control of ensuring I’m prepared if the worst happens. As I’m a bit of a control freak, knowing that has made me feel a lot better. 

A recent LinkedIn post by a career coach really resonated with me and I contacted the coach.  I had a free 30 minute call (they all seem to offer this) and I have to admit I had absolutely no intention of signing up for coaching.  I’m embarrassed to say I thought I could do the job for myself, all I needed was some time to dedicate to it.

In fact, it took no time at all for me to realise that I can benefit hugely by talking to a professional who is trained and experienced in helping people deal with issues like mine on a daily basis. I also realised that unless I am accountable to someone independent for taking action, I will not prioritise myself. At best, I will tread water and in practice I'm more likely to become increasingly dissatisfied and frustrated at work and more grumpy at home.    

I know that if I am happy at work, this filters through to my personal life where I am calmer and more fun.  I don’t know what the future holds for my job or my career but I do know that by seizing control and focusing on the positive steps I can take, I will be a better mother and wife, as well as a more fulfilled employee. 

Linda is a lawyer who has two children aged 4 and 7. She and her husband work full time and juggle the school run and everything else between them.

Category: A Citymother's Diary

Comments
Rina Sond - 08/09/2020 - 11:33
Hi Linda, I just wanted to comment on here to say well done for taking those steps to change those aspects that you have some control over. Your blog resonated as, whilst my firm have been pretty good at dealing with the pandemic, I have heard from old colleagues about certain law firms not responding so well! And I think it's important to highlight that you're not the only person going through that. Onwards and upwards!
Robin Carvell-Spedding - 09/09/2020 - 10:09

Linda, thank you for 2 refreshingly and bravely honest blogs, to which I can fully relate; I head up an in-house legal function, my wife runs her own business, we had no childcare support for 2.5 months (the “on our knees” comment really resonated), my capacity for work was reduced by 50% as a result whilst the demands from the business increased by the same amount (with seemingly little regard, at times, for the stress under which working parents were operating at that time). As you say, many others had it worse and things are better now but this experience has accelerated my questioning of the type of company I want to work for. You mention coaching – I can highly recommend this. Like you, I was perhaps sceptical of my need for it and its efficacy, until I met an ex-lawyer, now coach, at a conference a few years ago and I found the sessions I had with her extremely helpful (and I’m just about to start further sessions, albeit with a different coach, to focus on different areas). You may have already chosen a coach but, if not, I found having someone who had been a lawyer (including in-house) really beneficial, as they ‘got’ the sort of professional challenges we face. Do DM me (via LinkedIn or otherwise) if you want to connect and share experiences and I’d also be happy to recommend a coach. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and wishing you all the best for the next steps. [Robin Carvell-Spedding]

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