It’s possible to balance work and life as a mom. Learn about the PROPEL model, which offers ambitious working mothers new possibilities for advancing in their corporate careers.
In #Upcycle Your Job, Anna Meller believes it’s high time we #Upcycled our jobs and careers to fit today’s lifestyles and meet women’s changed expectations. Her evidence-backed PROPEL model offers ambitious working mothers new possibilities for progressing their corporate careers.
Table of contents
What Does It Mean to #Upcycle
Anna Meller knows the impossible choices working moms face. If they want to progress in their career, that often means spending less time with their child. If they want to prioritize family, the consequences could be less pay, hitting a career plateau, or even stepping out of the corporate world altogether.
What the author suggests is a solution to finding a work-life balance that’s tailored to your personal life. That’s where upcycling comes in, which means to renew and revitalize. In this book, Meller breaks down her research-based PROPEL method that guides working moms through that process of upcycling.
The Challenges of Finding Work-Life Balance as a Mom
While working moms faced challenges in the corporate world before the pandemic, this time has only made finding that balance more difficult. Meller actually highlights that most moms balancing work and family have two jobs: their 9-5 and all the unpaid housework that typically falls to them when they’re home. So, when everyone started working from home, I could only imagine how blurred the line became and the impossible choices that had to be made.
While it’s challenging, and there are a lot of shifts that still need to be made within corporate culture to better support moms, this time has also opened up more of a dialogue and willingness on employers’ parts to be flexible. Meller encourages moms to remember it’s up to them to manage their work-life balance. She suggests now is the time to get clear on what you want to achieve, have a commitment to your vision, and have the courage to ask for the resources and support you need.
What is the PROPEL Method?
The PROPEL method is a six-step evidence-based process the author offers women to help them upcycle their jobs. This essentially provides an easy-to-follow roadmap that will help working moms get clear on their preferences and how they can strike a balance that fits their personal lives.
The Six-Step Process to Upcycling Your Job
The first step of PROPEL is having a clear understanding of work-life preferences. Meller explains that’ll require a deep dive into your values and desires, but it’ll be a worthwhile investigation into what matters to you. When you clearly understand your preferences and priorities, you can create boundaries that support your desired vision of work-life balance.
The second step is investigating the roles you play. Playing roles is inevitable; it’s a part of life. But you do have control over what roles you play and how. Psychologist Donal Super explains that each role is typically played in four major theaters – home, community, school, and office. Each space acts as a cue for how you behave. Meller writes that getting clear on the roles you play and identifying whether or not any of them require too much emotional energy empowers you to rethink how you play those roles and reshape them in a way that works for you.
The third step in the PROPEL model is exploring your options. You’ll have identified any roles that aren’t sustainable in their current state at this point in the process. Now that you know what isn’t working or won’t work long-term, you can plan how to make changes that support and complement your wellbeing and preferences.
Working hours aren’t the only place you can find flexibility, there are other possibilities available. This realization is the fourth step in the PROPEL model. Upcycling your job can be figuring out how to organize your tasks for better productivity and balance. That’s where job crafting can be beneficial. Job crafting is a helpful exercise that helps you shift your focus to larger impact projects and tasks while decreasing stress and increasing productivity levels.
In the PROPEL method, the next step is developing essential skills to enforce those crucial boundaries. This is when it’s time to up your competency. That sounds daunting, but it’s an opportunity to ask yourself, what makes a good leader, and how can I start acting like one? This can look like developing competencies like good time management and strong communication. It may sound challenging, but just like moms grow into their parenting role, this step requires starting where you are with the skills you already have. And as you begin to lead those around you, you’ll slowly start to learn how to think like a leader.
The final step in the PROPEL method is leadership. Moving into leadership positions isn’t just part of upcycling your career; it helps provide other women opportunities to upcycle their careers as well. Meller writes that it’s often thought women don’t step into leadership positions because of lack of ambition, but that’s not the case. Women want thriving and rewarding careers just as much as men do. Part of this final step is focusing on a story of potential and possibility because that’s at the heart of upcycling – reimagining something old with new life. It’s important to remember that small changes over time can have big effects, so focus on the leader you want to be and start taking small steps to get there.
Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your career. And being driven at work doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice family time. There is a way to find balance through upcycling, which empowers women to advocate for their needs and enforce necessary boundaries while growing as leaders at work and at home.