Merry CHRISTmas

Every December since our first daughter was born i take a three weeks break from work. This is a good time for me to rest and spend quality time with my loved ones. It is also a busy time for me as i also release our nanny to go and be with her family. Last year was manageable as the twins were five months old and well, slept most of the time. A year later,  they are toddlers exploring the world around them. I have always appreciated our nanny but the last few days have given me a new level of respect for her and an appreciation of what her typical day is like when we are at work.

As i am on holiday, i will not talk about any work related issues except to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry CHRISTmas and remember Jesus is the reason for the season. From our family to yours.

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Lessons from motherhood….

I became a mother for the first time a few months before my thirty- second birthday. By that time i was nearing a decade in the corporate world and was not really prepared for how my life would change. Two years later we were blessed with twins. Today we have three children all under four and i will share some of my lessons from motherhood that have “changed” me if i can use that word.

Before motherhood, my Saturdays were characterised by “sleeping in” and for me that could mean waking up after midday. Now in my thirties and already set in my ways, our daughter prefferred to wake up at midnight and sleep around 4am. When she eventually got into some form of routine, she still preferred to wake up at 5am even on a Saturday. The twins are even worse. Our son wakes up at 4am to play and make the most amazing sounds you cannot ignore him. So what did i learn from this?

Firstly its never too late to change. These days 4am is my normal waking up time. I do not struggle and i have embraced it as my new reality. Even when my son is older, i have a new routine and i like how i can get a lot done in the quiteness of the morning when the rest of the world is still sleeping. With the rapid changes taking place on the technological front, be prepared to learn and relearn and unlearn.

Secondly i have learnt the importance of an altetnative plan. Sometimes even the best laid out plans do not work. In such situations an alternative plan is always needed. Sometimes the nanny has her own emergencies and cannot come on Monday morning. Its always best to plan ahead with clarity of mind before pressure of the circumstances cloud the mind.

Being a mother has taught me the importance of asking for help and not try to do it all. The first time i had a heIper was after our daughter was born. I remember my sister in law advising me to give the baby to the nanny so they could get used to each other before i got back to work. I laugh when i think of the response i gave. I told her i was also trying to get used to the baby and i didnt want her knowing the nany more than me. Fast forwad two years later and i had twins and there was just no way of doing it all on my own. Its pretty much similar in the corporate world. When you are still starting out and the responsibilities are less, you probably could try and do it all by yourself. As you advance and get more responsibilities ( took me having twins to learn that), you definitely need to delegate to capable others.

Finally, do not sweat the small staff. Honestly. I insisted on getting back from work to a clean spotless  house when it was just one baby. Now that they are three, i don’t mind to see toys all over. As long as they are happy and well-fed. Similarly there are certain things that are not a train smash at work and not making a big deal of them does help for one’s sanity. For example, does it really matter what time one decides to take their lunch hour? For me not really. As long as they are meeting all their deliverables.

I know there is still more to learn from motherhood and so this might become a series:):). Until the next post, enjoy the journey.

TSB.

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Finishing Strong

In my high school years I was in the school long distance team. We called it cross country. I remember our trainer always encouraged us to try our best to sprint in the last 50 metres of the race. It didn’t matter whether there was any other runner near you. He called it a “photo finish”

We are now nearing year end I encourage you to have a photo finish. It’s a good way to end the year and allows you to overdeliver on your objectives and hopefully you get rewarded for it. So these are some of the steps you can take to have a photo finish to the year.

1. Do not slow down because the year is nearly ending. Keep the pace. Get to work early. This allows you extra time to tie up all those loose ends that have been outstanding for a while.

2. Do not procrastinate. The tendency for some towards year end is to push off everything to the coming year. Honestly why wait for the clock to tell you it’s 1st of January to do something? Why not start now?

3. Be proactive.  The evaluation for this calendar year will also be due early in the new year. By now one  already knows which objectives will be delivered and those that will not. Be proactive and pre-empt these to your line manager and agree on some actions where possible.  This will avoid suprises that will make the discussion much more easier.

4. It’s not over till its over. Having said the above , you still owe it to yourself to do your best to deliver what you promised. The remaining weeks to the year can still be used to deliver your objectives.

Wishing you a great ending to the year with a ” photo finish”

Journey Mercies ☺  

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Bullying at work

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Life has been happening and each time I have promised myself I would update my blog. I am glad today I finally got a chance. The good news is that having been away for so long,  I have a lot to write about. I am really excited about this and look forward to the next coming days. 

This page is inspired by my own experience as a wife and mother who also happens to be career loving. I know there are many out there just like me.

Today I would like to talk about the subject of bullying in the work place. It’s unbelievable that this happens in a set up where there are adults who should know better.  One would think this was a junior school phenomenon. Well it’s not and today I would like to share some tips on handling this.

Unlike in primary school where the bully took your sandwich or removed and broke your “nerdy” glasses, in the work place it is sometimes so suttle and one might not necessarily see it that way. The best way to define bullying is that it is use of unwanted force, threats, aggression and belittling of others. Usually it is those in power that bully those with lessor ” perceived” power. However it can also be done by subordinates or  collegues at the same level.

Usually in such cases the usual response is either fight or flight. There is no necessarily a better response of the two. It simply depends on the circumstances. My own personal response would be to fight,  and here I don’t mean physical fighting. In current circumstances at least in our part of the world, leaving might not be an option. I have a suggestion that could help in dealing with and fighting bullying at work.

Depending on who the bully is,  the first option could be to approach them in the presence of a superior that you would have briefed already,  and let the bully know the effect of their actions on your person and how this impacts the organisation. It is always better to refer to specific incidents of the bullying so that the bully is reminded of them. The next step is to get acknowledgement and a commitment to change from the bully. Normally taking that step of facing the bully is a sign of boldness on your part and I encourage you to try it despite your hatred for confrontation and discomfort and having such a conversation.

In some instances the bully is a superior and in this case you would need to identify a person who is at the same level as the bully to be part of your discussion with the bully.

If you notice bullying behaviour in your organisation, do not bury your head in the sand and pretend not to notice. Whether as the line manager or a collegue , it is important to deal with bullying in the work place.

I hope that you are not one of those who are being bullied and if you recognise yourself as treating your colleagues with disrespect, belittling their suggestions and being aggressive,  please stop.

Until my next blog, enjoy your journey and see you at the top.

Journey Mercies!

Madame Boss

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Time and chance

Every so often i look back on how far i have come on my journey. I was doing this earlier today and was remembering how i felt years back when i had just finished my undergraduate studies. Around 2003 and 2004, banking was the industry to be employed in Zimbabwe. Most college mates were working in banks and according to me, “they were doing very well” and probably better than me.  I remember meeting a collegue who told me another college mate had been offered a brand new top of the range company vehicle. This was really amazing for me as  my own employer did not offer brand new company cars to some of the managers, let alone a graduate trainee like myself. I remember getting home that day, obviously having used public transport and asking my father if he could take me to a relative who by  then was a director in one of the banks.
My write up today is based on a passage of Scripture from the Bible.  Ecclesiastes 9 verse1.
I returned and saw under the sun that
the race is not to the swift,  Nor the battle to the strong.
Nor bread to the wise
No riches to men of understanding,
No favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.

My father did not take me to our director relative at the bank. For the next two years i continued using public transport as i finished my graduate traineeship.  When I look back now, i realise that the words of Solomon in the Scripture above are absolutely important for ambitious and hard working career women like you and me. Your time and chance will come. It might seem as if others have gone ahead of you. That is perfectly fine. However their success and achievements do not take away anything from you. The sky is big enough for all the birds to fly. Now I look back and i am grateful my father refused to take me to our director banker relative.

Just to elaborate on time and chance happening to all. What this means is that your opportunity will come. However it’s exactly that,   an opportunity and every opportunity has a lifespan after which it will pass or expire. Make use of the chance/opportunity you get before it expires.

Until next time,  remember time and chance happen to us all. Make use of it.

Journey mercies

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Game Face On

This blog is inspired by my own journey as an ambitious career loving mother and wife. I will always share from my own journey and experiences and believe someone out there also has feedback and we can learn from each other and enjoy the journey together.  Feel free to engage and comment on each post.

We have three children all below four years. Before you ask how i did that, the youngest are twins! 😄 Children being children, sometimes my husband and I find ourselves awake at 2 in the morning playing with two little people that just decide that is what they would like to do at that particular time. By the time they fall asleep,  it will be almost time to start preparing for the start of a new day.  So what do we do? Well, we put our game faces on.

How many times have you seen someone and just thought to yourself “this person has it together”. It could be the way they speak,  the way they carry themselves or sometimes the way they dress. Well I have news for you…  The world does not always need to know about the challenges that you are facing and how you are having sleeplessness nights (for whatever reason). I am not heartless. I just don’t believe in having a pity party and everyone feeling sorry for me.  Put your game face on and face the day. The people you admire also have challenges and don’t always have it together even though it might seem that way.

I remember one particular day when our son just wouldn’t sleep. My consolation is that he usually doesn’t cry but just wants to play. We had visitors at work and i had to make a presentation the following day.  I probably had two hours of sleep that night.  I didn’t let that put me down. I was in the office at my usual time and gave the presentation my best.  No one would have known i had two hours of sleep.  Of course i compensated by getting an early night that day.

Challenges will always be there as long as you are alive. Curve balls are part of life. Be encouraged by the fact that others probably have it worse than you. Put on your game face and face your challenges head on.

Till my next post,  journey mercies!

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Letter to my younger self

This year will be my 12th year in the corporate world. I have not seen it all but I have definitely seen a lot and like i sometimes tell some people, my twelve years experience count for something. I might not be where I would like to be, but I am no longer where I started. So today if i had to write letter to my younger self in the year I started  work, i would have a lot to say. Hopefully those who are are where I was twelve years ago can glean and learn a thing or two.

Dear young lady…
Congratulations are in order for making it this far in your education. Despite what others may say, this is a stepping stone to the future you desire. Note that i say stepping stone, but there are no guarantees. At this level and in your context, the colleges and universities in your country have most likely unleashed at least a thousand graduates who like you are ready for the work world.  I have confidence in your work ethic and attitude, thanks to your parents for instilling that in you.  But you know what?  You are going to need more than that. Why do I say this? Because doors will be slammed in your face, because you are going to be challenged,  because you are going to have to be accountable ,because excuses will not be accepted…because…because …because. …

There are some things that I am going to encourage you to do. First always go the extra mile. Forget the “talk” of working “smart” and not “hard”. Work hard, in fact work very hard. It’s not manual labour but do work hard. It will show,  trust me on that. After twelve years, i have seen that hard work pays. The difference between ordinary and extra ordinary is the extra. For extra ordinary results,  put the extra.

Secondly your values and morals are your compass. Never forget that. Build on firm foundations. Anything that will endure, has to be built on firm foundations. Do not take short cuts. Always remember your mum’s statement “…the long road will still get you there… “(…. iri kure inosvika)

You might not want to hear this but I will say it anyhow. You might fall. I hope you won’t. If you do, that’s life. Get up,  dust yourself and keep moving forward.

I could go on,  but let me stop here and leave you with one more piece of advice. The Bible speaks of a woman who went to the judge to have her adversary brought to justice. Daily she came before the judge but the judge did nothing. Maybe we need to put this into context. This judge was feared, obviously. And this woman was likely a widow. Otherwise in that era, her husband would have fought on her behalf. Despite the judge’s reputation, the woman did not stop coming to the judge to seek justice. In the end, the Bible says ” the judge said to himself, i neither fear God nor man, but this woman will weary me with her persistence. . . .”
Do not give up, be persistent, have a stubborn will to excel and stay on your journey.

Journey mercies. ..

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