Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What did you do at work today mom?

Like most evenings we were sitting down at our dining table in the large bay window, having dinner, Zoe and I. She was happily munching away on cucumbers and pasta when she asked "what did you do at work today mom?" I tried not to laugh because it sounded so much more grown up than her 3 year old self could contain, but I have heard her ask that a few times before, obviously modeled upon my eternal "what did you do in daycare today, Zoe?" Because she is 3 and have a hard time remembering even the smallest things from daycare on command, she most often says "I don't know". I then encourage her, or try to give her a "template" for conversation by telling her exactly what I did that day at work. It is an excellent exercise for me, and I believe for any adult, to try to condense and describe a workday so a 3-year old can understand. I often try to explain that I write articles so that others can read them, that I teach adults difficult things. She has been at my work several times so she has mental references to my office and my colleague who had to look after her once.

So when she asked this particular evening I tried to explain in a simplified way what had happened. "Well, I had a meeting with my boss. And he said he thought I should be in charge or more people. In fact he gave me a whole new type of job where I get to tell others what to do". Zoe seemed unimpressed. "I'll get more money", I explained and she lightened up. "Zoe want money too", she said and I laughingly promised her that we could go and buy her a present next weekend.

So there you have the big news. The head of department offered me the position as head of one of the sub-departments (our department is so large that it is divided into four, each the size of a small academic department). After a week of considering I accepted on several conditions (that shall remain unmentioned here). I was very surprised about the offer because our department is heavily 'old male' oriented to say the least but a colleague had put in a good word for me and I honestly think that it is a good idea to have some 'young fresh blood', seen from an objective perspective. From a management perspective, I am that. In fact I'm the only female in a leadership position there; oh wait, I'm one out of four or five female faculty members out of 50+. Well, that's natural science for you. After accepting I speed-read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and discovered that it is very much a book about leadership and I actually felt I could use a lot of her expertise and experiences. We will see how it goes, so far Zoe seems mainly excited about the doll-pram that she might be getting because of mom's new job. 

No comments:

Post a Comment