Turning Down the Corner Office

Women, today, have every opportunity to succeed in our work. As our reputation grows within an organization or industry, we are encouraged to take on leadership positions wherever possible. There are very few organizations these days that would not welcome a strong female leader. In fact, many companies have quotas to fill. They need capable women on their boards and committees, and they need them now.

I have always been incredibly career-focused. I worked day and night when in the consulting world, and joined a leading investment bank with the intention of climbing the ladder as far as it would hold. I was in the middle of a critical project when I was first diagnosed with glandular fever. I had recurring symptoms every few months for more than three years before my husband convinced me to change my lifestyle and take a sabbatical. I fell pregnant with our first son when I was on leave.

Once I knew we were going to be blessed with a child, my role as a wife and a mother automatically became the role I valued above any other. We made financial decisions to enable me to stay home, planning for me to leave my job as soon as our first son was born.

But God had other plans. When I returned to work, my employer insisted that it be on a half day basis. This was in order to avoid another relapse. But, for me, it was also a gift that meant I could work in the mornings, contribute to our family's bottom line and also be a completely dedicated Mum to my boys in the afternoon. What a wonderful balance! What a challenging balance to maintain... working half day requires you to choose to "work with your hands" -- not with your heart. You have to keep your work, and your ego, in its right place. The second you start to work with your heart rather than your hands, your work starts to steal priority and focus that your family should have and you begin moving away from being a Mum with a job on the side.

This is not easy. When I was pregnant with my second son and my first was only nine months old, I was asked to become the Head of Business Technology for a division of the bank. I looked at the opportunity every which way; trying to see if there was some way I could take on the role without compromising my family... there wasn't. I wanted to work a half day -- heck, I didn't want to work at all. This role was impossible on a half day. Impossible. I said no. Then I went home and cried. Saying no was one of the hardest, and best, decisions I have ever made.

I am passionate about my God. He is the reason I prioritize my time in the way I do, to meet the purposes He has given me: to love Him, my husband and my children, in that order, and put them first -- before any other aspect of my life. Without Him I would be unable to say no. With Him I am able to put my ego aside and say no to the corner office in order to honor Him -- regardless of what any-one else thinks.

This post originally appeared on Janice's blog, Halfdaymum. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.