With the right workplace culture and team support, it’s possible to be ambitious at work and engaged at home.
Fivetran Sales Development Representative Shauna Healy started her career in child care, but the long hours made it hard to spend time with her daughter. When she transitioned to tech, she found that company culture can be more important than industry when it comes to supporting a healthy work-life balance. In the interview below, she shares her thoughts on balancing motherhood and career.
I was in child care for 10 years. I was a manager, and we had 120 kids in my center and I managed 24 staff members. I’m one of seven children, and I have 15 nieces and nephews. I’m quite a maternal person, and I was always sort of everyone’s mommy, and then I ended up going into child care after school.
I had my daughter, and I was working maybe seven o’clock in the morning till maybe half seven in the evenings. You’d be constantly on the clock, even sometimes I’d end up working weekends as well. Eventually my daughter was coming to my child care center, but I still wasn’t able to spend any time with her.
My partner Richie worked for Fivetran, and he had a much better work-life balance, so he was able to spend time with her — while being able to hit his targets and goals and everything else. It was bizarre.
I was the manager, and I had so many different rooms with so many different children that I actually didn’t get to see her during the day at all, which was quite sad.
Yeah! Even sometimes I’d go in on the weekends to clear a backlog of admin and I’d try to convince them to come with me and just play near me while I got work done, because I didn’t want to lose the time with them.
I saw how valued Richie was at Fivetran, the flexibility with work and life. And I had some sales experience, but not too much.
It was a huge learning curve for me. It was the fear of everyone knowing what they were doing, and I thought everyone was looking at me going, Oh my god, what is she doing here? But everybody reached out, everybody was willing to give you advice and help you learn more and sell better and invite you onto sales calls. But I still found it overwhelming.
Maybe a good six months, which is probably bad, but I was hitting my targets and overachieved on my targets, so eventually I changed my mindset, you know: Give yourself some slack here, you’re actually doing OK.
It’s so much better. I love working remotely and that option to do it in the future is really helpful, because I can drop my daughter off later in the mornings and collect her earlier. And it’s incredibly flexible. If I can schedule my calls differently or get enough work done during the day to hit my targets, I can just take a day off and spend it with her. And that has meant everything. Everyone’s super understanding if she’s ever ill, if I’m ever ill. It’s just like, Of course. Take care of your child. It’s absolutely fine. We’ll help you get you where you need to get. It’s lovely.
Yes. Sometimes we work late, of course — you might have to take out your laptop later in the night when the kids are in bed, but that’s now a choice for me that Fivetran has made possible. If I’m not getting something done during the daytime, I can take a couple of hours, spend it with my daughter, and do my admin at night. But it’s a choice, it’s a personal decision.
Even more so, considering I didn’t have much experience. I got my first promotion after six months, moving to Sales Development Representative II, and now I’m moving up again, to Team Lead, which is amazing. There’s a full support network of people who want to help you progress and figure out where your interests lie.
I actually have another baby on the way, and what’s different this time around is I’m not afraid to be vocal and tell my manager that I’m pregnant, where previously I would have been almost apologetic, like, I’m pregnant but I’m going be around and I’m going be available, and I’ll be right back after maternity.
Now, everyone is just happy for me. They’re like, Shauna, you need to take your time and come back from maternity leave when you’re ready. Don’t rush it, your job’s going to be here when you’re back. We still want to progress you now before you go on maternity leave. Don’t be thinking that negatively. It’s not like that anymore.