In the end, it was the driving force behind GP Ginni Mansberg’s career.
The mother of three had lived comfortably working two days a week until suddenly she found herself divorced and with very little income to support her kids.
“That was the worst cataclysmic experience of my life. Everything was so awful. You don’t think you’re going to get over it.”
But she was forced to get over it by getting into it. She needed to start making money, fast.
Listen to Dr Ginni talk about what she did next, on the I Don’t Know How She Does It podcast:
“It was me on my own basically and I had to support these children on my own … I got someone to show me how to use a spreadsheet and exactly what I’d need to survive, [to] put food on the table and pay the electricity”.
But before she increased her load as a GP – a medical role notorious for long, unforgiving hours – she scanned through the Jobs section of the newspaper.
“There on page two was an ad for somebody with media experience … and health experience”.
Before she knew it, Mansberg had gone from working a very manageable part-time job to travelling in and out of Canberra working as an adviser for former MP Joe Hockey.
“I rang this number and I said I’d like to apply and the guy on the other end of the phone said ‘oh look, it’s not really a job for a mother, it’s very demanding’ and I thought ‘you’re kidding me … No one is going to tell me I can’t do that as a mother’ and so I did.
“I divided my time between Canberra and Sydney. I did every Saturday in the surgery … I was writing for Women’s Health [magazine], I was writing for various medical industry titles on the side at two [o’clock] in the morning and making enough money to get by”.
But how exactly did she make it all work?
Well, she hired a ‘manny’, a young 23-year-old, who dropped her kids to school and picked them up. And she became a big believer of frozen dinners.
But she says she couldn’t have done any of it without a supportive boss because it finally gave her the one thing she really needed at this treacherous point in her life – confidence.
“We kind of muddled through and it worked and [Joe Hockey] was … such a feminist and the fact I was a single mum, he said ‘we’ll do what we need to do to make it work’ which was awesome and I got this confidence that I could be a single mum and work and nobody fell apart, no one got all that sick, no one ended up in a psychiatrist’s office by the end of the year so we’ll call that a win”.
In retrospect, could she have prevented years of financial panic? Maybe.
“The reason I only did two mornings a week, as well as my writing from home was because I didn’t really need to work more than that. Financially, things were absolutely fine.
“I didn’t even need to consider when the credit card bill came in things were fine so I worked two mornings a week which worked brilliantly with little kids”.
These days, Mansberg has countless roles within her medical profession and as a media-doctor, appearing on several TV shows including Seven’s Sunrise as their resident GP.
None of these jobs, she says, would have existed if she hadn’t been forced into her career.
“I look back at that time and I think: was I insane?
“I was so driven to survive and to not let the kids down because … you still feel like you’ve let them down and you could’ve tried something better and you could’ve tried harder. I was so consumed by guilt and I didn’t want anything to change for them”.
But something did change for them.
Dr Ginni Mansberg has an inner strength that is inspirational, not only to her young children – but to all women. Her biggest bump along the road opened her up to a world of opportunity.
To use her brain, her heart and her passion to create a career.
A career that saved her bank balance. And her soul.
Listen to the full interview here:
You can buy GP Ginni Mansberg’s book or any other book mentioned on our podcasts from iBooks at apple.co/mamamia, where you can also subscribe to all our other shows in one place.