A Reflection by Taylor Numbers, Internal Community Manager at Austin Software
I often feel like I need to work until the work is done -and maybe this is because I’m submerged in this American way of work do-it-all or maybe it is because I am a woman in a tech field- I don’t know. But here’s the thing: there’s always gonna be work to be done. The problem is that I would find myself working late three to five days a week or even working on Sundays to get a jump start on the week. This is not how I want my worklife to be like and foremost, it is not what I consider as a healthy work-life balance. If I’m so against it, Why do I keep doing it?
Pam Ibarguren (Austin Software Manager and panelist at the WIT) really opened my mind as to why we need to respect this balance. As Pam put it: “We need to lead by example. If you work on the weekend your team is going to think they are expected to work on the weekends. If you have no work-life balance your team is going to think work needs to be their whole life.”
When I previously worked on weekends I would message my team if I needed information from them, but always prefaced it by “please don’t feel like you have to answer this before Monday.” But this is no excuse: although getting work done after hours may help me relieve some instant anxiety I had about being prepared, it’s an extra workload that I am then carrying and projecting into my team. I never thought about how my late nights or weekend hours would project that kind of expectation onto them.
So, when talking to my team on weeklys or one-on-one meetings, I reinforced the importance of having a work-life balance. As most of them work part-time hours, I would insist that they not overwork themselves, and if they choose to do it, they should balance the rest of their week out to make up for that time. And though I was preaching this to my team, I now see the importance of practicing those same guidelines in my own life.
Going forward, I’m going to make an active effort to stop working when the workday is done. Not only for my own mental health, but also for the example I’m giving to the other women and men on my team.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of this webinar, especially because I’m not an actual tech person (meaning I’m not a Developer or a Software Engineer). But the advice the panel gave covered a wide variety of topics and obstacles women in any role face on a daily basis. From my perspective, their words have pointed me in the right direction in terms of becoming the leader I want to be.