Babies and MBA’s
Babies and MBA’s
Recently I had the great privilege of delivering the guest lecture to the Deakin MBA program. My topic was “Mindfulness, Stress and Wellbeing”. I love this topic as it aligns perfectly to my main area of research these days which is how do we work well and live well simultaneously?
I have been a proponent of turning the system of work on its head ever since I had my first baby, 13 years ago. My now adolescent child provided me the perspective I needed about the way I was working. She was also the catalyst for why I made it a focus all those years ago and why I still support others now to work well and live well.
Almost a decade before becoming a parent, I completed a master’s degree. I remember how fantastic it felt to be really immersed in post graduate study. Other than work, and my partner, I didn’t have too many other pressing obligations. Life was light and fun. Study was not. I loved it, but it was hard work. It was another full-time job on top of the one I had. But I loved it. I was working and studying in my passion area – people! It was also very one dimensional. I had a place to go every week, from 6-9pm. Straight after work, in the Melbourne CBD. I had to attend the class in person. There was no such concept as virtual study. You showed up, you received handouts, I think there were powerpoint slides by then, and you could research journal articles and reference materials online, but I would often spend hours on the weekend in the university library.
I attempted a Phd back in 2014 before my second child was born. The timing wasn’t great. I commenced the Phd, became pregnant 6 months into the program and was promoted to HR Director before heading off on parental leave which commenced extra early due to my very welcome albeit premature arrival. Within the next year I had put the Phd on hold. New baby, new role and extreme fatigue didn’t bode well. I didn’t have the opportunity either at that stage to study the virtually – although a Phd is quite virtual in any case as you move to your beat over the time period of the degree.
So when I presented at the Deakin MBA program recently, I had a massive smile on my face when I saw three little ones on their parents laps on the zoom screen. It was a 6-9pm class. These parents were at home attending a lecture, and I was home delivering it. I had dinner with my family and was able to say goodnight to my kids because I was there. These parents/students, were able to do the same with their families, and even have their children close by.
Now this isn’t for everyone. Some may really appreciate the alone time for study, fitness, or other hobbies. But for those that want and need to integrate their family life with study, they now can.
Few will now be precluded from gaining access to further education because of family responsibilities, or not being able to physically get to class. Class comes to you.
I loved seeing this integration, of study, work and life. Maybe this next generation of kids will be better for that fact that as parents, we can be more present. In fact, not maybe, I know they will.