My Dear Luck,
I have recently joined my work post maternity leave. While everything at work is fine, I do not like the culture of working till late. I am a diligent employee and I manage to finish my day’s work in the stipulated time. However, most of my colleagues and my boss have the habit of staying in till late evening. They spring into action only after 4pm. And when I leave by 6.30pm, half an hour later than the official closing hours, I do not get a good feeling. Sometimes a task lands on my desk only in the evening, to be finished on the very same day. Some days meetings are called in the evening. I face a sarcastic comment about leaving early, which is actually leaving on time. I have tried discussing this with my boss but she doesn’t seem to be interested. HR feels I need to learn to balance.
Dear Luck, I love my work. I love the challenge that it brings to my table. Everything else is fine but I do not like to make excuses everyday to leave office on time. I feel it is a burden that my baby and I have to share of being forced to be guilty. What should I do? Is quitting a solution for this?
A disciplined working mom
Dear Disciplined Working Mom,
A mom has to be disciplined and iron-willed. A working mom has no choice but to be both. You are already half there and you need to develop some more strength.
The ABC of how you think would make a difference:
- A- Ace CEO – you are the Ace CEO of your own mind. The way you think and act is the way you shape your being.
- B-Buzz off the noise. Yes, you need to develop mental strength to shut down the noise around you.
- C-Channelise your energies towards your goal – stay focussed. Isn’t that obvious? It is also the easiest to fail.
When a worry enters our mind – it has two routes – to expand itself and become the biggest worry in the head or to lie as small as possible in the corner of the head and be addressed slowly and gradually and one day it is forced out of the mind. So, a worry like team’s culture and HR’s indifference attitude is bothering you- we must acknowledge the worry’s presence and work on a framework to address it.
If you find your HR to be not listening to your worry, do not get worried about the HR. It means you have two sets of people to tackle- team culture and HR’s indifference. Obviously, the second one is not so critical.
When I faced a boss related challenge at workplace during early days of my working mom status, I put a date to quit the job. That was wrong. My mother narrated a story. In narrow lanes of small towns when you are driving, you stumble upon a herd of cows in front of your car. You honk, you wait for them to move and then may be you step down the main road or take a detour to drive forward to your destination. You don’t turn back and go home. These hurdles are that bunch of bulls. They will eventually clear up but you got to find solutions to continue driving.
Occasionally bringing it up with your team, your team leader and even the HR is like keeping the honk pressed. The honk would be heard. Sagorika Kantahria, HR head of a large media publication, says, ‘As long as you meet your targets and ensure office stipulated work hours are met there is no need to make excuse.. your performance and attendance data should speak for itself.’
Let us work on a plan that would help you achieve your ABC of thought process.
a) Ace CEO– Tell your mind this problem will clear up. Call them a herd of cow, buffalo, sheep or whatever you feel like, that is blocking your pathway. Treat them as a problem that will clear up one day, either by dispersing or by you finding a side road, and this roadblock can’t stop you from driving forward.
b) Buzz off the noise – I have used a phrase in my head- ‘my work will talk louder than everyone else’. You may coin your own- but be good to yourself and play that phrase’s music in your mind. It works and it keeps the noise out.
c) Channelise your energy- As a working mother, you have several priorities but a limited timeframe. What is your goal? What is your growth map? Stay focussed on that. Do not deviate. Write it on post-its, put it on your mirror, your cupboard – keep reminding yourself and keep channelising your energy.