Career and family: how to find your balance?

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A 2-year international assignment in Schneider Electric HQ in Paris — who would say no to that? Does it mean to miss out on family life?  Not necessarily. If you’re wondering how to develop your career and balance it with a family time, my story might help.

Find a job of your dreams

Imagine an (almost) fresh graduate of Adult Education and French language teaching. She has a few years of experience in small training companies, but misses speaking French. One day she sees a job opening in People Administration Shared Service to support training management for France.

To me, it sounded like a huge opportunity! I applied and got the job. Schneider surprised me with an amazing two-week onboarding in France. It was ten years ago, but I still keep in touch with colleagues met during that time. You can hear very often that Schneider Electric is a place where you can meet great people, and for me it was just a beginning.

Build network before you need one

Happy as I was with my job, I realized that it would be even more interesting to be part of the Learning Solutions team. There, I could put my knowledge to use and build training programs that support employees’ development through dedicated learning paths. An opportunity occurred in Global Supply Chain (GSC). I knew a few things about GSC, mostly from supporting HR BPs and Learning Solutions within this organization, and I knew I had to learn a lot. Once again, great people in my network helped me to prepare for that role, and I became the GSC Academy EMEA Coordinator.

Lesson learned? Getting to know the different parts of the company, even the ones you don’t work with directly, is important. That knowledge, and the network you build, may become very helpful in your future career aspirations.

Be open, curious and learn new things

I’ve spent around two years working with people from Global Supply Chain. This resulted in many great relations and my ongoing interest in all the things that happen in GSC. It is a workplace full of innovative solutions, that you can see in our smart factories and innovation hubs (if you haven’t yet, you must check them out. It’s a mind-blowing experience). GSC is also truly engaged in sustainable development through initiatives like Green Premium program or the recently launched Supply Chain Decarbonization Service that helps companies address carbon emissions in their value chains. It’s great to be a part of an organization that’s committed to a net-zero supply chain by 2050.

With great support and mentoring from my manager, I was able to expand my skills, better understand our business, and prepare for next challenges ahead. And they have arrived quickly!


Family walk in Paris

I was 30 years old and married, when I was asked if I would be interested in an international assignment in Paris. Some would say, not a perfect time for a woman to start a career adventure abroad, nor for a man to put his career on hold to accompany his wife. Guess what, together with my husband, we have chosen to challenge!

My next mission was to join the Global Employer Branding team, where I was able to experience firsthand that what Schneider claims about our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy is all true. Why? My first daughter was born in Paris. After my parental leave I came back to work, with a breast pump next to my laptop in the bag, while my husband was exploring the city with our baby girl. In our office, I could use a dedicated room for Mums, and a fridge was at my disposal too. Everyone was very supportive and welcoming. It made my return to work a lot easier.

Own your career, make YOUR decisions

When my assignment ended, we decided to go back to Poland. I continued my mission in employer branding till our second daughter was born. While preparing to my second return to work, I started to explore the job opportunities within Schneider Electric’s Open Talent Market.

It’s natural that with time, your interests change and your skills evolve. You may want to try things that you’ve once dreamed about, but never had an opportunity to explore. You may want to have a “quiet” type of job, to balance the energy spent on work and family life. Or, you may want a challenge to step outside of your comfort zone and push your limits. It’s one of these moments when you need to navigate between options and advices but stick to your course. It’s your career and happiness that are at stake.

Don’t be afraid, go for it!

In my case, after two maternity breaks and a successful career in HR, I really wanted to learn something new. I decided to try my chances in global marketing and join Schneider Electric Digital Communications team.

So here I am, exploring energy efficiency solutions of Ecostruxure and open ecosystem Exchange, writing about digital transformation, IoT and, data analytics, within the most sustainable company in the world (by Corporate Knights), while being a very busy mom of two little girls.

My last piece of advice? Ask yourself: what do you want to achieve? And don’t be afraid to go for it. It’s your life.

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Connect with me on LinkedIn to exchange on career development, work-life balance and #returntowork ideas!

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