By Dr Carrie Mowatt
On the 23 June 2020, Olga Degtyareva’s online workshop took the participants through setting boundaries to enable us to achieve our long-term goals and helped think about prioritising our ‘burning yes’.
Little did I know that the universe was going to provide me with a spectacularly unforgettable ‘burning yes’ later that very evening!
Olga set the scene by painting an engaging and relatable picture of the many varied work/ life balance challenges encountered by women at all stages of their careers in STEMM. We touched on the extra challenges and opportunities around remote working and home-schooling during the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Remote working had quietly been reshaping our lives; part or full-time. From coffee shops, public libraries to living rooms at our dining tables. The emergence of digital office rental services has led to changing attitudes around where we work or manage teams, and to whether we should. Today in 2020, unprecedented times bring us to a mass digital remote working era. With the shift, we explore how best to coordinate our lives, weave in work-life balance, staying efficient and productive.
Establish a Routine
Time Block and Remove Distractions…
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For some, the social interaction of networking is an opportunity to thrive, but for others it is akin to an annual dental check-up. Regardless of your profession, industry or background, the power of professional networking on your career cannot be overstated. It is a necessity in your success for more business opportunities, broader knowledge, interdisciplinary collaborations, increased capacity for innovation, improved employment perspectives and essential for career development and progression.
3. Ramp up visibility
4. Be intentional
5. Diversify your network
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Picture if you will, a day segmented neatly into a productive and effective eight hour work day, followed by leaving on time for your one-to-two hour fulfilling hobby, or perhaps you’ll meet friends or family after work giving them your undivided attention, maybe you’ll be picking up the children from school and run them along to their fun and enhancing after-school activities. The day then smoothly eases into the evening of leisurely unwinding and prepping up for the next day, and your head gently hits your pillow at the end of the evening for an eight hour deep sleep, to start refreshed the next morning.
In a 24 hour switched-on planet, technology driven in our waking and non-waking hours, we will endeavour to get a lot more done with a lot less, striving for professional and personal efficiency. We live in a world where people around the world are connected online resulting in information overload and competing priorities. Boxing off time is a luxury a few of us might be able to afford. Research has shown that the 9 to 5 is fast disappearing, (YouGov, 2018), almost half of people either work flexibly, job share or work compressed hours, to allow them to juggle other commitments (The Conversation).
Cambridge Association for Women in Science and Engineering (CamAWISE) and Equality and Diversity Section at the University of Cambridge organised a panel discussion entitled “Carving our journeys: BME women in STEMM” in April 2019. The panel comprised of four University of Cambridge female researchers with different heritages and at varying stages of their academic careers: Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan, Heba Hamad, Carol Nkechi Ibe and Professor Kay-Tee Khaw.
Following introduction of the Panel Chair, Caroline Shaheera Asante, a British born broadcast journalist of Guyanese and Ghanian descent, and founder of Cambridge Eco Living Festival and Raheela Rehman (Chair, CamAWiSE), each of the panellists gave a short presentation about their foray into science and journey to Cambridge.
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