10 lessons learned from professional women on work-life balance

A new report finds that the keys to achieving success as a professional woman begin with a good education, a defined financial plan, and learning to re-think the guilt that plagues so many who choose to balance both a career and family.

See Full Article

The report from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and TD Bank Group entitled “10 Lessons: Women @ Work Managing Career, Family & Legacy” is the result of a two-year research project and essay competition that brought together the thoughts of professional women with university degrees from across Canada.

The researchers asked the women to contribute essays and take part in focus groups to come up with 10 ways that women can achieve success in life, work, and their legacy.

The women who chose to balance both families and careers reported they often felt guilt they were not at home more, but many reported that the sense of self-worth and accomplishment they earned from their careers ultimately made them better and more inspiring mothers.

Sandy Cimoroni, chief operating Officer at TD Wealth and chair of the bank’s Women Investor Program, says women have a tendency to be tough on themselves, and to want to be successes both at home and at work.

But she says there never is an ideal work- life balance because the balance is always shifting depending on our place in life.

“Women are often given the message that you can’t have it all. You can have it all; just not at the same time,” she said. “As your life changes, your priorities change, so it’s about reprioritizing and making shifts to your focus.”

The women reported that success and advancement meant different things to each of them, with some saying they equated it with achieving traditional career goals, such as executive appointments, while for others, it meant having flexibility to spend time with family, or being able to start a business on their own.

Many of the women spoke of the need for having a sound financial footing and had stories of being blindsided by unexpected events such as divorce or death. Many expressed gratitude that they had been prepared by having a solid understanding of their family’s finances, having a long-term plan and having access to an emergency fund.

Meanwhile, others also spoke of the need for younger women to understand that there are trade-offs every time they take a career break.

“When women take a break and then come back into the workforce, they have to recognize they have lost income power or saving power in some cases, in that time,” Cimoroni said.

Researchers have even given this phenomenon a name: “the motherhood gap,” noting that careers breaks related to childcare were found to generate a three per cent wage penalty per year of absence that persisted for the rest of their careers.

“That’s been a reality for a while and I'm sure it’s going to continue,” Cimoroni said, but noted that reinforced the need to prepare for that possibility financially.

Here are the 10 lessons about career, family and legacy success from the report:

  1. Communicate your aspirations.
    Define both your family and career aspirations. Reflect and revisit them often. Communicate your aspirations to your organization or network, as well as your family.
  2. Get an education
    An education early in life is critical to achieving career advancement, financial security and independence.
  3. Be financially prepared for the unexpected
    Plan for an emergency before an emergency happens.
  4. Develop business acumen
    Seek opportunities to develop your ability to make sound business judgments.
  5. Understand the trade-offs of a career break
    Consider long-term financial and skills implications when making the decision to opt out of the labour market.
  6. Rethink guilt
    Focus on the positive, long term benefits and outcome of a career.
  7. Be confident – take career & life risks
    Be aware of the self-imposed obstacles that could be holding you back. • Take risks, both in career and life, to achieve the life you want.
  8. Find trusted mentors and mentees
    Build your network of mentors to help guide and support you. Help others to develop leadership skills.
  9. Network, network, network!
    Think carefully, creatively and strategically about how you develop and maintain your networks.
  10. Think about your legacy.
    Identify your legacy early and revisit it often. Use your plan as a guide to achieving your goals


Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • CMHC to hike mortgage insurance premiums by an average of $5 a month

    Economic CBC News
    The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will charge borrowers a few dollars more every month to insure their mortgages starting in March. The housing agency made the announcement in a release Tuesday. Starting March 17, CMHC will charge mortgage holders slightly more every month to insure their loans. Source
  • Silk, steam and slogans: Inside a North Korean factory

    Economic CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- As the morning light poured through large windows, women wearing olive-colored overalls, pink aprons and headscarves stood at stations where silkworms were being boiled. Some used their bare hands to pull silk thread from the boilers and winced as the steam rose toward their faces. Source
  • CMHC to raise mortgage insurance premiums for homebuyers as of March 17

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is raising the cost of mortgage loan insurance effective March 17. The Crown corporation estimates the increases will add about $5 to a monthly mortgage payment for its average homebuyer. Source
  • Rolls Royce agrees to pay $808 million on bribery claims

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON - Jet engine maker Rolls Royce has agreed to pay 671 million pounds ($808 million) to settle bribery and corruption charges brought by authorities in Britain, the U.S. and Brazil. A U.K. High Court judge will examine the deferred prosecution agreement during a public hearing on Tuesday. Source
  • British American Tobacco agrees to take over Reynolds

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British American Tobacco Plc has agreed to fully take over Reynolds American Inc. in a deal that will create the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company. The $49 billion takeover was agreed on improved terms compared with an initial bid made last year. Source
  • Malaysia Air on rebound as missing flight search called off

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG -- Nearly three years after twin disasters took it to the brink of financial collapse, Malaysia Airlines' new CEO says the airline's recovery is going better than expected. The search for the airline's Flight 370 that went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board was suspended Tuesday. Source
  • Top-down solutions from Davos elite out of step with populist anger: Don Pittis

    Economic CBC News
    In the Swiss resort town of Davos amid the glare of media attention, movie stars, billionaires and politicians have gathered once again to tell us what we are doing wrong and how to start doing things right. Source
  • Why the Dow Jones hitting 20,000 is meaningless

    Economic CBC News
    There are few things economic experts agree on. That the Dow Jones Industrial Average is ridiculous as an economic indicator is one. That its milestones are meaningless is another. For weeks now, headlines have been breathlessly anticipating the Dow breaking through the 20,000-point mark. Source
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average is ridiculous — and its 20,000-point milestone doesn't matter

    Economic CBC News
    There are few things economic experts agree on. That the Dow Jones Industrial Average is ridiculous as an economic indicator is one. That its milestones are meaningless is another. For weeks now, headlines have been breathlessly anticipating the Dow breaking through the 20,000-point mark. Source
  • Shell Canada seals second deepwater well off Nova Scotia, silent on results

    Economic CTV News
    HALIFAX - Shell is moving to seal off the second of its two deepwater exploration wells off Nova Scotia. The company began work on the Monterey Jack well on the Scotian Shelf on Sept. Source