It Takes a Village: Inspire Your Work-Life Balance
August 7, 2023
Every one of us has experienced the effects of growing demands at work, including the struggle to disconnect, as the evolution of technology keeps us always on. But even as the responsibilities and projects mount, it’s vital to maintain a healthy, realistic work-life balance. Work-life balance can mean something different from person to person, and as personal and professional circumstances change, so too does that delicate balance.
As part of our WLIT Coffee Talk series, I had the pleasure of leading an insightful conversation with Rocket Software VP of Z Center of Excellence, Saghi Amirsoleymani, and VP of Revenue Operations, Laura Mathison, to discuss the practical steps they take every day to achieve the right balance between career and family.
Here are just a few experiences and pieces of advice we explored during our discussion.
Finding Work-Life Balance Early in a Career
For Laura, her own experiences have evolved over time as she entered into each new phase of her life. But when starting out working and trying to establish a healthy work-life balance, she turned to others for examples. It can be difficult or even uncomfortable to set boundaries and prioritize work tasks and personal obligations over the course of a work day. But by talking to others who were in a similar position, she found it easier to pick up and understand how to effectively manage a full calendar.
It's important for anyone new in their career to remember that being able to unplug is something that doesn’t come easy to everyone—as was the case for Saghi. The key for her—learning how to set expectations and establish healthy work habits from the start. It’s never easy to totally unplug, but doing so was crucial to her ability to create a healthier work-life balance.
The Impact of Family on Career Goals
Particularly in a field like technology that is often more male-dominated, the perceptions that come with having children and a family can present challenges. For Laura, a challenge early in her own career was not wanting to be identified or defined by having children. At first, being a mother was not something she wanted to divulge, but over time, and particularly after working from home in the wake of COVID-19, it became a much more present part of her work life.
Saghi had a similar experience as a working mom. But over time, she found that family was not something that needed to be kept hidden away. Having a supportive work environment was critical for Saghi and helped her find the right balance between work and family. Ultimately, she feels it’s important to make time for not just children, but the entire extended family too.
Tips for Mastering Work on a Day-to-Day Level
Saghi’s work often involves attending a large number of conferences, which is challenging to pull off as a single mother of a young child. Saghi makes a point to establish clear availability whenever she finds herself at an event to ensure she is able to meet her work objectives while still having time to take care of family and personal obligations.
It’s also important for Laura to set boundaries. After the pandemic, she found herself on Zoom calls back-to-back throughout the entirety of some days. For her, building those boundaries started by gaining control of her calendar. She makes a point to block out times and prioritize which meetings she truly needs to attend. Ultimately, as Mathison calls out, setting those boundaries is so crucial because no one else is going to do it for you. It’s something that can be difficult to get in the habit of, but doing it can make managing day-to-day work a lot less stressful.
Here are a few key takeaways that are echoed in the highlight video:
- Set boundaries and expectations of availability
- Bring your WHOLE self to work
- Be present with your family
- Be passionate, work hard, but create space for yourself
These topics are just a glimpse of what we talked about during our conversation. Check out the video recording for valuable insights that can inspire your approach to achieving a better balance in your life.
Thank you to our WLIT community for engaging in the discussion and sharing your experiences, we learned from you too as always!
Register now for the next WLIT Coffee Talk on October 19, 2023, at 11:00 am ET, “Break the Burn out Cycle.” This empowering session will equip you with practical tools for managing your physical and mental well-being, achieving balance, and cultivating a healthier and more productive work environment.
Visit Rocket Software’s Women Leaders in Technology web page to see more Coffee Talks, blogs, and join our WLIT Community.