It’s the age-old question of how do you have it all? How do you juggle the responsibility of raising kids while making a living in a world that demands almost everything of us? How do you navigate the desire of having a career that is fulfilling and stimulating, yet also satisfying that deep yearning of having a family to share the joy with?
Many people will tell you that maintaining a career and being an engaged parent are impossible. They’ll tell you that you need to make a choice now; that you can’t do both. I've lost count over the years of the number of times comments just like this have been made to me, and I don’t even have children yet.
Let’s get this out on the table early - Having a career and a family aren’t mutually exclusive.
But, what exactly does it take to ‘balance’ a career and family? How do you navigate the juggle of being a parent and a career woman? How do we continue to try and close the gap between organisations and parents and carers?
To answer these questions and more, I spoke with Jodi Geddes. Jodi is the co-founder of Circle In and with her business partner Kate Pollard, they are on a mission to build a better world for working parents and carers.
Jodi and Circle In also believe that having a career and being a parent or a carer are not mutually exclusive. Their aim is to build a better world for working parents by providing the support they need for their everyday juggle.
In our conversation Jodi speaks through her own journey of transitioning out of her corporate career, building a tech company from the ground up, all whilst juggling her own family.
Let’s dive in!
Having a career and raising kids is something that Jodi has struggled with herself, as the mother of two little girls. In the corporate world, she had experienced feelings of disconnection – out of sight, out of mind, and lack of manager support.
It was through this experience that Jodi realised she wanted to do something to support women who she knew had also had similar experiences to her. She realised that more support was necessary to truly bridge the gap between organisations and parents and carers.
“It started because of a clear need,” Jodi says, “Rather than the solution, for us, the solution was secondary. We knew the need was there. We validated it, we spoke to over 1,000 parents as well as our own experiences.”
Jodi adds, “I think that’s something to think about, you know, if you’re thinking about an idea or wanting to do something, start with the need first and solution should follow second.”
Starting a business is never a smooth sailing journey. It’s full of ups and downs, and Jodi’s journey was no different.
“Every day is a day full of firsts, and the day’s are full of challenges. I’m not gonna lie, it hasn’t changed,” Jodi admits.
Jodi knew her passion for the corporate world had waned; she was ready to branch out and start her own business in a space she was truly passionate about. “I was really ready to start my own business. I think I was a little bit naive as well, and I didn’t really appreciate how much work goes into running a business. I don’t think anyone ever will, until you’re in the position that you and I are in now.”
“It's been lots of challenges along the way. And I think, you know, you go from being a specialist in one area in a corporate role to being a master of none,” Jodi adds. But, Jodi has clearly risen to the challenge – she took what she learned from corporate, applied it to her own business, has surrounded herself with an incredible team, and she says it’s been an amazing journey so far.
When asked about her views on balance, Jodi’s response is as honest as it gets. “Balance doesn’t exist”.
Jodi’s view is that the quicker we can accept that and truly take the pressure of ourselves to think we need to have this constant balance, things seem to just become easier.
We also spoke about the power of striving for presence over balance.
When you’re working; be all in. Fully committed and fully present. And when you’re with your family, be fully present there. Being one foot in and one foot out all the time, that is where we end up no where, and we then torture ourselves for it.
Jodi also admits, no matter how hard you try, there will be times when work bleeds into your personal life and vice versa. However, that doesn’t mean that having a career and being a parent are mutually exclusive – it doesn’t have to be.
Jodi says, “I truly believe that you can have both, but you just need the right support around you”.
Running a business or building a corporate career whilst raising kids isn’t easy, but with Circle In, Jodi and Kate aim to create a better world for all parents and carers and are truly changing the game in this space.
Claire Seeber is a self-proclaimed travel addict, mini-sausage dog mumma, avid blogger, a lover of a good glass of pinot noir and believes a solid belly laugh should be part of your every day.
She is also a professional coach, speaker and People and Culture consultant. Claire started her business in 2017 whilst working full time as General Manager of HR for a large retail business. What she loves the most about the work she does is being able to work with passionate, motivated and courageous people who genuinely want to reach their full potential and are ready to put the hard yards in to get there.