Recently, I started a process to expand my team in Asia. In reviewing the job descriptions, I asked myself two simple questions:
- If I saw this job description on another company’s website, would I want this job?
- Would I apply?
I surprised myself; my answer for the first question was YES, but for the second – would I apply, the answer was NO ☹?
Well, this is a weird situation. If I wouldn’t apply for my own open roles, why should others? Especially when I want to reach a balanced ratio of men and women applying to these positions.
Why wouldn’t I apply to a role on my own team?
The first reason is very similar to the situation described by Tracey Trewin in her article, “Don’t Disqualify Yourself From the Opportunity”. When I look at my job description, I can’t say yes to every single qualification. Does that automatically disqualify me from the job? Absolutely not. I have a lot of other related experience that does make me qualified for this job. As a matter of fact, I am the one leading the people who are doing this job. And I’m proud that I bring a lot of different experiences to the team.
Don’t let the long list of qualifications intimidate you! The list is intended to help you understand the types of experiences we need on our team. You don’t have to meet them 100%. I don’t.
My personal life was the second reason that gave me pause. I have two kids; one is 3-years-old and the other is 7-months-old. When I read the job description it makes me think the role is very demanding and requires travel. Naturally, my first thought was “would I be able to balance the job while being a mother for two young kids?”. But I’ve learned, I can do it all.
I can balance my work and personal life because Microsoft gives me the agility and the freedom to decide on how, when and where to do my job.
Let me tell you a bit about my life. My partner in life is my biggest motivator and supporter and he has his own career. He is self-employed as an Industrial Designer who always has several big, challenging projects. Together we are juggling our careers and family life.
Since I became a mother, I started to do most of my work from home when I wasn’t meeting with customers. This flexibility saves me nearly two hours in daily commuting. Microsoft has the right infrastructure in place to enable remote employees the same experience as working in the office. This has been proven to be very efficient, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
I have many calls during a normal day with people from all around the world – 19 countries in fact! I have people reporting to me from Japan, China and Korea. My manager and my peers are in Europe, I work closely with people at the Microsoft HQ in the U.S. and I live in Israel. Somedays I must take early morning calls to speak with my team in Asia. I can do it before the kids are awake or after we take them to daycare. There are times when I need to take calls in the car, or afternoon meetings when someone can watch the kids, or evening calls with people in the U.S. after the kids have gone to sleep. How? Because I own my calendar and there is a mutual understanding between all Microsoft employees to respect each other’s time zone, culture, and other constraints. In Israel, working days are Sunday-Thursday. Pretty often I receive meeting requests for Fridays. I just say, “No” politely, and people respect my request. when I explain why.
COVID-19 changed many things. When everything shut down, I was transitioning back from my maternity leave. The first few weeks were hectic. Fortunately, as a new mom, I am thankful there isn’t planned travel right now. It has also reinforced what my team already knows. Many of our tasks can be done remotely. When the time comes for seeing our customers in person, I will do what I’ve always done and be picky about the trips I take so they are as impactful as possible for my project and as short as possible for my family’s sake. I encourage everyone on my team to do the same. And if all else fails, I’ll bring home a lot of gifts for my partner 😊!
Don’t get me wrong, working for Microsoft can be very demanding. It takes a lot of self-discipline. I need to plan my time efficiently to utilize every minute allotted for work time, but I like it! I feel good because I do meaningful work. And I think Microsoft is a great workplace for parents. So, before you say to yourself “I would love to apply but I’m not qualified” – think of me!
Interested in learning more? Please send me a message: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryehezkel/