When I practiced law, I was staggered at the number of women that left the profession once they started a family – the commute, the long hours, the sheer responsibility of parenthood, the costs of childcare and the daily pressures, they all seemed to contribute to their decision to leave; but there appeared to be little resistance from their employers to them doing so.
For me, work and life have to be taken together – they are facets that build our identities as people. I sought to create a business model that could keep this economic force active and engaged whilst they bring up a family. If only we looked at their abilities as a whole, not just as lawyers, this win-win model could be more easily achieved.
To work in recruitment you have to like people, want to get to know all about them and find out what it is that makes them tick. Human First is an ideal starting point. In law, academic qualifications are a given but to get the right fit, you have to pay a lot of attention to how candidates manage their interviews in a practical setting. The legal sector can be very conservative, but it is changing rapidly and to see the choices expand, especially for women, is part of what makes the job so fascinating.
Having worked as a lawyer for many years across several jurisdictions I came to realise that law is not only one of the most closed and conservative professions but also one that is incredibly slow to change. I came to Obelisk to help foster a change in attitudes and demonstrate that flexible working can be mutually beneficial for both clients and lawyers.
Since having my first child 7 years ago, I’ve had a strong desire to return to my professional career whilst honouring my responsibility to my family, but at the time, no-one was prepared to give me the chance to soar in both facets of my life. I remember a senior colleague telling me “you can’t do both, because you can only be good at one”. To me, Human First, means accepting that both of these facets in my life are equally important – they have shaped me into the human being that I am today and contrary to popular belief, I can be excellent in both. Obelisk has provided me with the opportunity to live this value and to never forget that whether I’m interacting with colleagues, clients and consultants…that we are humans first.
The legal sector is known for a demanding culture of long work hours. Let’s not forget there’s only so few waking hours left in the day for what really matters, happiness. At the end of the day we’re all human trying to find that balance between work and our personal lives. It’s important to strive for the life we want to live.
It starts and ends with people, from identifying the most important people-problems to working to solve them and shaping products that people love and trust. Being Human First is to put people at the heart of our every technological effort, without exception.