Christina is someone who lives her life intentionally. She stays in touch with what she wants and continually considers what she can do today to position herself for what she wants in the future.
Last year, Christina was getting clearer and clearer about what she wanted in a couple different aspects of her life. She found herself wanting to transition out of the banking world – in which she had extensive experience – and into a role in the social sector – where she would feel like she was making a difference in the world every day. And, without a significant cut in pay. At the same time, she and her husband wanted to start a family.
Now I know Christina well and I know that she usually gets what she wants. Yet, with this set of variant desires, conventional wisdom starts to tell you that you can’t have it all at once. You can’t move from a banking position to a “social-responsibility” focused role AND make the same amount of money. You shouldn’t move away from your stable job where you have 3 months of maternity leave when you’re trying to get pregnant or are newly pregnant. You shouldn’t make a big change in your personal life and your work life at the same time. You can’t look for a new job when you’re pregnant.
Yet…that is all EXACTLY what Christina did!
When Christina was two months pregnant she accepted a job in the academic world as the Director of an initiative focus on promoting learning and research on social enterprise and nonprofits- a brand new initiative that she would head up. This is how she got here:
- She followed a super random hit of inspiration to reach out to a former professor just to see what was available in the social sector that might line up with her skill set and desires.
- Prior to accepting the offer for her new role, Christina initiated an extremely transparent conversation with the HR Manager about her pregnancy and the options available.
- She had an authentic conversation with her new boss about her upcoming maternity leave and how they could make it work for her and the organization.
- She allowed herself to want – simultaneously – a new job and a baby.
I love Christina’s story. I love that her experience flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
Too often women feel like they are trapped inside of their circumstances and can’t want or have everything that they want to have. Conventional wisdom tells women they can’t have career advancement and fulfillment, and also want to expand their family at the same time.
Sometimes we just don’t know what’s possible unless we allow ourselves to explore all the possibilities.