Nourilee Santos works as an Application Developer in IBM Philippines, and is a mother of three children. In her story, she talks about the challenges she faces as a working mother, and how IBM and her colleagues have helped her to balance her priorities in her career and motherhood.
I’ve worked for four years in IBM as an Application Developer. My job is like a roller coaster – sometimes it’s fast and demanding, and other times, it’s free flowing and relaxed. I don’t travel overseas frequently, and my office is located at IBM Plaza which is a 20 minute walk away from my home. At times, I have to come into office during a holiday or on a weekend, and I would bring my children along with me. It can be chaotic, but I bring my children along so that they’ll feel that they’re my priority.
I have three children – my eldest is seven and my youngest is two. Our second child is six, but she was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay. She is taking home-based therapy for speech and behavior, and has started going for SPecial EDucation (SPED) inclusion classes at a nearby school. Finding time to attend to my children’s needs, especially with my special needs child, is a struggle. We’re lucky to have my mother around to take care of the kids while we’re both at work. My husband has opted to leave his regular job in a well-known bank to start a small business, and so I had to work in a regular job.
I was working on a contractual basis before joining IBM. I really appreciate the family-friendly programs and policies offered by the company as they’ve helped me to be more productive at work while still being able to spend time with my children and family.
When I was pregnant with my youngest child, another of my team member was pregnant too, and due to that, my team had to deal with resource challenges. In addition, I had a project that was expected to be delivered exactly around the time when I was due. Hence, before I went on maternity leave, my manager and I discussed and planned for my transition so that it would go smoothly. However, I had to undergo an emergency cesarean, and had to take an earlier and longer leave. I remembered how supportive my manager was when I shared the news with him. Not only did he allow me to take my leave, but he even gave me an additional month to work from home and fully recover. My team was also in constant communication with me via SMS and email on the project. By the time I was back from my leave, I had no trouble supporting post implementation issues as everything was documented and communicated with me.
Women, especially moms, have a lot to offer in the industry. I’ve met a lot of talented women, some of whom are application developers like me, who are really skilled in their jobs. Besides having the right technical skills, they bring unique and diverse perspectives into decision making processes. On top of that, working moms are the best at multi-tasking – they can cook dinner, care for two babies, while having a conference call at the same time! It’s a shame that many moms have to quit their jobs to take care of their children because they find it too challenging to juggle the demands of their careers and motherhood together.
I love my job, and I find that it has helped me so much to initiate open communication with my manager and colleagues on my family matters. When they knew of my situation, I was so surprised by how much effort they were putting in to help me out. My manager, my colleagues, and IBM have been so understanding and overwhelmingly supportive. I’ve worked in seven companies before IBM, and I know I’d never be able to balance my career and family like how I can here. Thank you IBM for your care and support!
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