I have a mentee. She is 25 years old and reminds me of myself when I was her age — except that she’s far brighter, mature and more focused than I ever was.
Like myself, she has drive; that fire burning inside when you know you are destined for greatness. At 25, you’re invincible. You crush every obstacle and overachieve at every challenge that comes your way. Your eyes are wide open for opportunities and you have such a bright future you can’t possibly choose which wonderful direction to take.
There is another commonality between my mentee and myself: the burden that every woman faces when looking down the path of executive life. It is how to have it all. How is one supposed to manage a high-powered career while having babies and raising children?
It’s quite simple, really. Just like managing a team or a project or a crisis, you need to set expectations with your partner early, and then delegate. Share the load and compromise. Once you have it down pat at home, this will be the least of your worries.
Exec life is alluring and impressive and aspiring. But it’s not always as glamorous as it seems. Here are seven things young women need to know about exec life:
1. There is no such thing as a 40-hour week
If you want the exec life, you will only master your craft, exceed expectations and achieve amazing results faster by putting in extra hours. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to reach executive status at a 40-hour per week pace, but it’s likely you’ll be there earlier in your career by investing the time in your performance.
And once you arrive, work can strike at any time and sometimes at the times that are super inconvenient. My weekends are often filled with running around from gym sessions and food shopping, a stop off at the park with the kids and a TV interview in between. This is when your superior juggling skills and sharp focus will be crucial to getting the job done.
For me to get in a few extra hours of work each day, I jump online after the kids are in bed and the hubby and I have had dinner and spent some time together.
2. You will sleep less.
I used to "need" at least nine hours of sleep every night or I thought I couldn't function well. Until I had children. Then I realised how little sleep I can survive on and I'm so grateful for that. It gave me a gift of allowing me to spend more time doing something that I love – working in Public Relations at comparison website finder.com – and in return I improved my skills and learnt how to be a better manager.
There is also equal opportunity for sleep-ins at my house. My husband and I share the weekends for sleep-in time. Saturdays are his sleep-ins while I'll catch up on sleep with nine or 10 hours and up by 9am Sunday morning. This has been our routine every weekend for five years since we had kids.