Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Job...after Baby #2

Between the 2.5 years of my two children, I had a great integration of science and life. As Director of Application Science, I was responsible for sales, marketing, scientific collaborations, and customer relations. The miracles of webinars and conference calls made working from home with 2 kids possible. I had some babysitters in the home, but I still nursed and spent time with my babies. Throughout my several years at the start-up company, I had worn many hats. With the upcoming delivery of my second child, I worked until the week before I was due. Although I had proposed to find my replacement, my CEO again took care of it for me. I mostly trained the new Sales and Marketing guy, as I wanted to continue the other work from home.

After a few months of maternity leave, I came to the realization that I wanted to work as a Consultant basis, mostly on finding potential new partners. Some days were busier than others; I mostly spend time nurturing and helping my daughters develop into people of good character. I have gone through months on just being a Mom, especially while the kids were younger. For all those parents who are faced with taking care of newborns while trying to stay on top of science: don't worry too much. Your science career, publication record and network will not go anywhere. Taking the extra time for children is lovely. I would not trade it for the world! Just remember to keep reading, try to consult for your previous work, attend a conference when you can, try to sit on a scientific advisory board, stay in touch with your network, ask one of your mentors if you can review some of their papers, keep mentoring others.

As my children are finishing up the last lap of "primary" years, I find myself newly inspired to dive into more work. Some people who take time for children may be accused of "not being serious" about science. I find that unfortunate. Life is interwoven with work, children, parents, circumstance. Since I have taken this time, I feel more inspired. I am a professional multi-tasker. Yes, I have directed a conference call followed immediately by a nursing session and then tending to toddler while making dinner. I am more inspired to tell my story and help other graduate students. Perhaps even change the career direction myself. It's a life-long process. I am currently engaging in more mentorship roles and giving career development seminars at my alma mater. I am linking up students with colleagues who I think can help them. I find this work to be very rewarding.

In short, I would say the "job" right now with 2 kids in tow would be full-time Mom, part-time science & career consultant, part-time music student, composer and teacher, part-time artist (yes, I also attend a School of Art,)  full-time wife, and full-time at living life to its fullest.

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