Getting ahead with your own career and being there for the children at the same time – a balancing act that is not easy. But it can be done. How I live up to my roles as senior project manager, master student on parental leave and mother, is what I’m going to tell you now.
Stagnation? Not for me
Since 2014 I have been Project Manager for Occupational Health Management at AMD TÜV (Arbeitsmedizinische Dienste GmbH of the TÜV Rheinland Group). Right from the start, I was given the opportunity to take on many exciting tasks and projects for customers. One year after my start, I was given the opportunity to take part in the TAFF programme for future TÜV Rheinland specialists and managers. At the same time as the one-year mentoring programme, I took over the technical coordination of transregional customers, was responsible for the induction of new colleagues in the onboarding process and was proudly appointed Senior Project Manager sometime later.
Suddenly career woman and mother
I started a part-time Master’s degree in Business Psychology in 2016. I wanted to devote myself more to the topics of work and organizational psychology and thus to holistic, healthy corporate management in order to be able to advise our customers even better. And then suddenly, in the middle of my studies, I became pregnant. Shortly afterwards it was clear: twins will be there!
Only a few months earlier, my husband and I had decided to move from our home in Ulm to Düsseldorf, 500 kilometres away. We wanted to take on a new professional challenge there. So we moved to the state capital of NRW (Northrhine Westphalia). Fortunately, at TÜV Rheinland I was able to change branch quite easily and thus contributed to the satisfaction of our customers for several months to come.
Child and career made possible – thanks to strong support
Yes, and then it happened – at the end of 2017 I was lucky enough to become the mother of two healthy children. I was very happy to have the opportunity to take a break during my studies. Of course, I asked myself briefly whether I should stop, start again later or simply continue. It quickly became clear: “Surrender is not an option”. Children should be an enrichment for me and not an obstacle. I don’t want to have to decide between child and career.
Towards the end of the first year of my two boys’ life and still on parental leave, I resumed my Master’s studies. A healthy portion of self-motivation, discipline, and organization are one thing, but the key to my later success was my secure network. I could trust that my husband would encourage, support, and take the pressure off me. The great commitment of my mother and the support of our babysitter also helped me to reach my goal and graduate successfully.
Work and family can be well balanced
Without children it may be easier to graduate, but with children the pride is all the greater in the end. Not only that I achieved it, but also how I achieved it. It is a really good feeling to have balanced the children’s needs, one’s own needs and the many different tasks and requirements.
Today, as a mother of almost 2-year-old twins, I am a business psychologist (M. Sc) and in my function as senior project manager back in the working world at TÜV Rheinland. I am very grateful for the opportunity to start working part-time and with flexible working hours. On the one hand, it gives me peace of mind regarding the compatibility of work and family and, on the other hand, it gives me enough energy for challenging customer projects as well as for my children’s wishes. The next few months will show what can be done to make it a success and which processes can perhaps be organised even better. I will be happy to tell you here on the career blog about my everyday life with children.
Career with child? Go for it!
As a role model I am happy to inspire and motivate other women with and without children. I would like to encourage you to give up the feeling of having to choose between child and career. It is important to keep an eye on your own goals, no matter what situation you are in. This can mean actively pursuing your goals, changing them, or simply taking a break and “catching your breath”. From my children I have learned to pay attention to my own needs and not to put myself under unnecessary pressure. And also to ask for help and to get support. These are tips that I can only recommend to every woman and every man. Because: “Better together!