In life’s long work-life journey, there are times when we are brought to our knees. At the best of times, finding the ‘next thing’ is challenging. Will I be good enough? Do I have enough experience? The right mix of skills? Fit to their needs and mine? And, dare I say it, fit for the future?
On my latest venture to my next awesome role, I realised that all of these thoughts can be unsettling – and be good for you at the same time. Do you know the feeling?
All of this was happening in peak kid’s end of term exam block (Year 6 & 8 boys btw) and my mother, homework duties were in overdrive. When those early evenings are the usual time poor, witching hour, made all the more complicated by tutoring my children in algebra, geometry, statistics and grammar (and trying not to burn the dinner). Who knew what a fabulous teacher I had become (if I do so say so myself)?
So, there I was, peaking in all things motherhood, when I was faced with the biggest test of my own – the suite of Psychometric testing, the next level when successfully moving along as a shortlisted candidate in a recruitment process. You know the drill: Personality Profile Questionnaire, Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning – AND timed tests.
The perfect next role had manifested thanks to my abundant network. Now all I had to do was jump through some hoops and I was nervous.
We’ve all been there. You see the dream role, you apply, you’re moving through the stages of the recruitment process successfully, you are progressing well and then, the phone rings.
“Congratulations you have reached the next stage of our process and we’d like to invite you to the next round and administer a suite of Psychometric Assessments’.
Terrifying. And by this stage, your performance is peaking. You got this far, the networking, the resume, the interviews, the new outfit, the hairdresser, nails perfect and now it’s the Psych tests. You may have even found a nanny to take over the said homework duties. Premature maybe, you are thinking at this point?
There I was, about to step into the next Psych testing phase. I was running through some example tests online (always recommended) and I realised that the time I had been spending with my kids with their exam preparation and revision deadlines had sent me to the top of the class. In fact, I thought I might even be dux of my year. I was so confident that one morning (after school drop off), I sat in the car and decided to run through some numerical reasoning tests on my phone. No pen, no paper, no calculator. I just went for it. Bang; 76% the first time. Dux. Off the cuff.
How did I do it? No recent studies, apart from the occasional professional development (again, recommended!). Then it came to me. My kids. All those hard yards of motherhood paying off. Add equal doses of courage, guts and gumption with my newly acquired geometry and grammar skills. Immersing myself in my kids’ world, day after day, not only coached me but, as it turned out, had enhanced my verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning skillset and reminded me of the importance of showing up.
Let’s revisit the vision of me in my car, post school drop off, doing the numerical reasoning test on my phone. I had put into practice what I preach to my kids. I did nail it, yes, but with thanks to revision, revision, revision. I had spent the time, the hard yards on the example testing sites, revising before I jumped in. And it paid off.
The importance of giving it a red hot go. To feel the fear and do it anyway. Taking a risk. Practice and preparation. Dedication. That’s my message to my kids, that was what I showed them. I walked the talk. And it felt inspiring.
My story paints a beautiful example of how the balance and the juggle of working parents has benefits for us as adults and for our children to observe and learn from. It’s a good reminder to adults that being bold and daring makes for the best memories and a much more interesting life.
Our time with our kids is precious. Yes, it is a juggle. Some times are more stressful than others, and it peaks in times of unrest or transition. My view is that by modelling courage, showing the benefits of practice and revision, not to mention showcasing our visible contentment and happiness at work – speaks volumes.
Our children will need to find their own pathway. If I can role model and positively influence through the highs and lows and find the time to hold space and be with them, then I have done my best.
Let’s embrace our future careers together and most importantly, take a moment to learn the valuable lessons your child can teach you.
By the way, I got the job! Thanks kids!