I’m like every woman, maybe just like you. I grew up in a small town behind the Iron Curtain. Far away from freedom, democracy, excellent education possibilities, access to foreign languages and travelling. Nevertheless, I dreamed of having an exciting job, wearing elegant suits and affording fancy shoes and bags. On top of that, I wanted to be fully independent, explore the world and make my own decisions, and, one day, start a family. I had created a beautiful picture of myself and my life. Those days seemed to be unachievable.
Fulfilling that dream took me many years of hard work. I had to be the black sheep in a herd while acting and performing against the standard rules and traditions. Many of you will agree that the world towards women is more challenging and demanding and certainly less forgiving.
So why should we be so hard on ourselves on top of that? Why shouldn’t we allow ourselves to take what we want? Why is it always the wrong time to think about ourselves?
I created a milestone, a checklist with bullet points that I wanted to accomplish during my life. Funny enough, I often repeated my dreams to my friends, parents, husband, and myself aloud. I have subconsciously programmed my brain to fulfil most of my dreams. And can you imagine? It has worked.
Not to forget how hard it was to raise two kids, away from family and university friends, in an alien new city, working full time and supported only by nannies. Moreover, I was missing a man who constantly travelled for years and prioritised his own career. Does this sound familiar to you?
Who was I at that time? First a mother, a wife, a woman and then me/human being with my private desires and career ambitions.
Across my career path, I gradually grew from the Junior, then Senior Buyer position and became a Procurement Manager, mainly working in international production companies with a worldwide footprint. I honestly never imagined myself being a manager and having a team. Like many women, I thought I was not good enough, not well prepared, needed additional courses, etc. But I was wrong.
I created my first team who managed to perform efficiently and successfully as a part of Shared Service Center in Poland for an American company that owned two production sites in Germany and Hungary. But suddenly, I then had to follow my spouse, move to another country with family and possibly give up my dream job. My first thought was: “Me again, I have to sacrifice my life!” But the next day, I said to myself: “Do not give up!”
I kept my job. The most challenging part was putting all the puzzles together again in one sharp picture: settling my family in Germany, remotely managing my team in Poland, and supporting kids in afterschool activities. The new situation required a significant degree of flexibility, almost constantly travelling to production sites and visiting suppliers, fairs, audits, not to mention my own team.
Feeling like a running hamster in the cage over the last seven years, I thought of pursuing business studies, but there was always something that stopped me. As a task-oriented person, I always created opportunities for myself, and right now, I am finding the keys which allow me to open some doors. The Executive MBA programme gives me a chance to open those life opportunities I am looking for.
So, if you feel that now is the right moment, do not hesitate. Just do it. Your family and partner will manage without you very well, and you deserve it! Do not give up on yourself!