The HR Juggler

Day 4: Resolutions in Retrospect

Posted on: December 4, 2012

One of the aspects I most enjoy about curating these Advent guest posts, is the new friendships that can form along the way and the people I get to know better through their posts. One such person that I have enjoyed making the acquaintance of is Karen Teago, author of today’s excellent post about the sometimes precarious balancing act between work and home. You can find on Karen on Twitter at @teago_emplaw or via her website. In the meantime, enjoy reading…!

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Last December, I made no New Year’s resolutions.  I haven’t done for several years as I’ve realised that all I do is set myself up for self flagellation approximately 5 days later when I haven’t been to the gym, drunk less wine or kept my office tidy (sound familiar?).

But 2012 in particular was to be the year of no expectations. I had my second child last August and by New Year’s Eve I was pretty well knackered and totally drained emotionally. I had resumed work in October (albeit on a very limited basis to stay up to date with legal developments). Our elder daughter had developed pneumonia in November and had a suspected relapse the week before Christmas. In all the fuss over her, the baby was largely ignored, until 2 days before Christmas when she woke up from a nap barking like a seal and seemed barely able to breathe.  Any of you who have witnessed the sudden and dramatic onset of an attack of croup will know just how terrifying this can be.  Both girls were much better within a few days of Christmas but the day itself passed by in a haze.

As you can imagine, the last thing on my mind by New Year’s Eve was making resolutions to achieve great things.  Merely surviving 2012 was top priority.  But in the spirit of this project’s “reflections and resolutions” theme, I have allowed myself to look back on 2012, at some achievements I am particularly proud of, and assess in retrospect what resolutions I could have made and actually kept.

1 – Achieving work-life balance. That old chestnut.  Hands up if that one appears on your list.  Now, when I say that this is something I have “achieved”, what I mean is that it is something that exists in my world.  It is rarely my ideal balance, but it all fits because it has to.  Sometimes I work too much and I get a big reality check.  Prime example back in September – my baby daughter, on seeing me after 2 nights away burst into tears and clung to my husband – ouch.  Sometimes, I see opportunities for developing business that I have to pass on.  They are great opportunities but they don’t fit my family commitments.  Most of the time I get by in an acceptable fashion.  Anyone who thinks that it is possible to give their all to their work and to their family at the same time will always be disappointed.  There’s only one of me, just like there’s only one of any of you.  Those people who seem to have it all? They really don’t.  I managed a reasonable compromise for most of 2012 – I remain in business and my children and husband still recognise me.  If I manage at least the same in 2013 then that will be as great an achievement as this year has been.

2 – Being a role model for my children.  All parents want (or in my view should want) to give their children strong and positive beliefs about themselves, their potential and the environment in which they are growing up.  I achieved this the day that my 3 year old turned to me and said “when I grow up Mummy, I want to be a teacher and go to London on the train like you do”.  This may have had a little something to do with the fact that she had clocked a massive box of chocolates that I was packing into my case for distribution to delegates the following day, but I prefer to think that she was inspired by my work.  It’s moments like that which tell me I’ve somehow managed number 1 above.

3 – Following my dreams.  If someone had said to me this time last year “by next Christmas, hundreds of people will have read what you have written about employment law and related government policy. You will have engaged with journalists, politicians, editors, lawyers, HR professionals, policy makers, influencers and other interesting people all over the world (including a lawn care specialist in Alabama)”, I’d have said “behave” or “care for another sherry?”.  But that person would have been right.  Since I set up my twitter account and blog back in April I have been amazed and humbled by the positive reactions I have received.  Yes, alright, I’m no JK Rowling, but I’ve always wanted to express myself in writing. My usual style and my topics of choice won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m so incredibly proud to be “in print” in this way.  Sad as it may seem, I’m achieving a dream every time I blog.

4 – Drink less alcohol, go to the gym regularly and keep office tidy. Nope. What do you think I am, some kind of Superwoman?

If there’s anything to be learnt from my experience of 2012 I would suggest it is this.  As 2013 approaches, don’t focus on the resolutions you didn’t keep this year (and under no circumstances remake them for next year!), instead reflect on your achievements before girding your loins for the year ahead. I think you’ll feel far better about yourself for having done so. I certainly do.

5 Responses to "Day 4: Resolutions in Retrospect"

Great post – well grounded, realistic and oh so true… As a working parent it is impossible “to have it all” but you can get the balance right and it’s good to hear that you have achieved so much in 2012, as well as coping when things were tough. Have a wonderful family Christmas and all the best for 2013 (PS I find your blog an interesting read and a great source of info – not just on UK employment law.)

Like your honesty & positive message

Sandy
@lizardvanilla

What an enlightening and inspiring set of posts there are proving to be – so much more interesting than reading the news! Brilliant contribution from Karen today and reading that has made me even more determined to follow my dreams, crazy though some of them may be!

Great post, though I don’t personally believe in work life balance, I prefer flow. In fact, I feel a blog post coming on – thanks for the inspiration.

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