In conjunction with International Women’s Day celebrated in March annually, we sat down with three successful ladies from Gamuda Land to talk about what it takes to climb the corporate ladder while balancing their family life.
Wanting to talk about being a working mom, Tan Zijin, Wong Siew Lee and Loo Yee Mei shared some personal experience and advice, which unsurprisingly applies to everyone across the board.
In our culture, women are often told that they have to be a stay-at-home mom if they want to be a good mother. Many people still believe that by women being successful in their careers, they jeopardise their children’s upbringing.
When asked whether their careers were compromised after having children, answering the tricky question, Zijin shared, “In a way, yes. But I believe you just have to find a good balance and make compromises with your partner on your priorities and arrangements.”
Zijin has three children and is very honest about her work with them. They understand about her having to work from Monday to Friday because they have her undivided attention on the weekends.
Siew Lee agreed with her sentiment and added some sound advice, “Having good planning and managing your career growth to fit your children’s growth is very important. If you can start a family when you just started working, it’s easier to attend to your children’s needs first before your career. As our children grow older, they become more independent, and by then, we would have built enough experience to progress further on our career path.”
We touched on the age-old topic of whether women are judged more than men when it comes to childcare, especially during the pandemic. Fortunately, the three ladies are surrounded by friends and family who understand that both men and women play an equal role in taking care of their families.
Yee Mei shared, “My husband and I both have similar education level and contribute financially to the family. Why shouldn’t it be the same when it comes to taking care of our children?”
Regardless of the pandemic, Zijin and her husband take turns juggling household chores and childcare with work.
“If I have an online meeting to attend, my husband will be the one supporting our children with their online classes or cooking dinner. The system works both ways. My husband understands that it isn’t solely a woman’s role to raise a family,” Zijin shared.
Company support plays a big role. Siew Lee said, “I’m thankful that Gamuda allows us to take up roles that are more focused on project planning with business investors or work in HQ when it isn’t convenient for us to be at site.”
On top of the flexible working hours, Yee Mei said, “The daycare centre at Menara Gamuda helped me a lot in managing my children. I’ve lost that support due to the pandemic, but thankfully the management is understanding in allowing us to rearrange our job scope when necessary.”
Irrespective of whether you have children or not, it takes a lot to accept that you sometimes need help. After all, we are the ones who have to live with ourselves and the choices we make. And it’s best to make a choice that makes it easier to live with ourselves, and not harder.
Check out the interesting highlights from our candid conversation:
Video by Justin Lim Kok Siong