Parenthood and startup life can be remarkably productive bedfellows.
By Julie Casson (Global Marketing Director, Inbenta)
Like all new families, welcoming a child into your life changes things — big time! When my son was born, I knew I had to reprioritize but instead of panicking, I embraced it.
As a newly minted “working mom,” I realized that the biggest shift needed to be my career. That elusive work/life balance lifestyle everyone talked about had to become my new reality.
But how? I wanted to be an active participant in my child’s life, but I didn’t want to turn my back on my professional goals.
That’s when I decided I would leave a Fortune 500 company for a startup. That might seem counterintuitive to some who might argue startup life is synonymous with burning the candle at both ends. But I believe the true benefits defeat that perception.
To prove my case, I’ve outlined five reasons why startup life can be a better career path for working moms.
Forget about the 9-to-5 work week, startup culture is different. Maybe it started with engineers who frequently pull all-nighters so a Noon start to the workday isn’t uncommon, but my guess is that there’s just more trust in a smaller company. My boss trusts me to get my work done and knows that it doesn’t matter if I’m sitting at my desk for 14 hours or for 2.
Flexibility is key for all working moms. We constantly have doctor’s appointments, school duties or errands that need to be taken care of and life usually doesn’t cater to after hours. Being part of a culture that understands that is significant.
There’s a lot of excitement that pumps through a startup. For instance, when a deal closes, it’s a collective win and everyone feels it.
This energy transcends throughout my day – whether I’m at the office or at home I try to give my 100%. If it is work-time, then that gets all of my attention, brain power and energy. If it is home time, the computer goes away and the phone is put down. This is how I reenergize so when I return to work, I am a powerhouse.
Startup culture teaches us not only that it’s okay to fail, but also that it’s unavoidable. Knowing this before tackling a new project – or entering into parenthood – is a huge stress reliever.
Working moms need to trust themselves and be comfortable with their decisions. We won't always make the right ones, but nobody is perfect; striving for perfection will only drive you crazy. Just remember that it's okay if the house is a bit messy or you need to make sandwiches for dinner.
Startups need to be lean, which means employees need to work smarter. Instead of having a workstation that you need to sit at everyday, it is important to be mobile and have the ability to work anywhere.
I have all of my documents and tools based in the cloud. That way I can access any report or project from anywhere. This allows me to spend more time with the family and not be locked to a desk in order to get anything done.
Scaling is one of the most difficult and awkward challenges a startup faces. Grow too slow and your fate is doomed. Grow too fast and you may face the same outcome.
I apply this to career growth as well – especially since balance with my personal life is so important. I’m more concerned with doing a great job than I am trying to prove that I can take on more.
Just like parenthood, it’s about problem solving one day at time. These everyday successes will boost your confidence and grant you limitless rewards.
How do you find balancing parenthood and entrepreneurship?
Photo credit: KPG Ivary via Shutterstock.
About the guest blogger: Julie Casson leads global marketing strategy at Silicon Valley-based startup Inbenta. Previously, she worked at PayPal as the Website and Campaign Manager for the small and medium businesses vertical, specializing in digital marketing and user experience design. Outside of creating Inbenta's next exciting marketing experience, Julie enjoys the Bay Area lifestyle with her family. Follow her at @toysalsa.