Leading communications for all of the top HR programs and initiatives is no easy feat. But Christine Robertson, senior internal communications manager at Seagate Technology, does just that. Her role is to drive awareness to the various programs and initiatives at her company by coming up with engagement plans that help drive a “two-way dialogue between HR and the employees,” she tells Fairygodboss.
On top of that, Christine is focused on balancing motherhood and self-care time. Of course, sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but she managed to squeeze in some time to catch up with us and tell us how she does it all.
“It’s about the quality of your work, not the quantity,” she tells Fairygodboss.
“You have control over your success and time,” Christine says. “Your quality of work doesn’t have to decrease if you don’t work around the clock. When I look back, I want to be able to reflect on a balanced life with my family and friends but, at the same time, be proud of the fact that I demonstrated a good work ethic for my children. I don’t want them to look back and say I was never there — but I do want them to say she was strong, hardworking and always around when I needed her the most.”
Here, Christine explains how she juggles working and motherhood.
Paint a picture of a typical day for me. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Sadly, the first thing I do when I wake up and go to sleep is usually look at work emails. I am a very driven career professional and can’t seem to tear myself away from working. I’ve worked with many hard-working women and men in the industry, and their work ethic has been ingrained in my DNA, which in most cases was to work constantly. But, as I’m reaching the middle of my career and a new chapter as a new mom, I am now leaning more toward focusing on balancing work and family. I’m usually the one taking care of my son in the morning, getting him up and ready to go to daycare. On top of the many other errands that I run as mom, I also “try” to get in a workout, if time permits. Harder said than done these days.
What resources or support has Seagate offered you as a working parent and a military wife?
We moved to Colorado last year because my husband is in the Air Force and got stationed there. The one thing that was important to me when looking for a career was finding one that supported flexibility. I chose to work for Seagate because they offer flexibility to military spouses as long as their job can provide the capability to do so. Plus, I felt a deep connection to the SVP of HR, Patricia Frost, due to her many years of service for the Army.
Attaining work-life balance can’t be done solo. What people, resources and tools do you rely on to get it all done?
The only people I can really count on these days are my husband and myself. We are trying to adapt to our new environment, but it’s hard to build relationships in the middle of a pandemic, yet alone in a new state. So, we rely on asking local people and colleagues for advice. Seagate also has an abundant amount of resources that I’ve taken advantage of to help with my wellbeing.
Does Seagate offer any events, programs or benefits to support employees’ mental health? Are there any that you have participated in?
I have benefited from Seagate’s wellness programs and have been able to connect with professionals to help alleviate my stress. This was a free benefit and has really helped me in trying to figure out what makes me tick and what can make me happy. Plus, it really helps to hear other people’s struggles and not feel alone. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team and Employee Resource Groups here host many sessions in which employees open up about their struggles and how they deal with the same issues I do. In addition, HR has been a great model for adaptation, as we implemented bi-weekly no-meeting Fridays for our organization to help employees be creative, catch up on work and improve their wellbeing.
What kinds of boundaries have you established to separate work and family time?
In the beginning, it was hard for me to do so. But when I realized I was working late nights and weekends, which was not healthy, I made it a priority to stop as much as I can and be with my family after my work hours and on weekends. Plus, I have a supportive husband who also reminds me that family needs to come first.
As a working mom, what advice do you have for other women who are balancing work with parenting?
I would say that the most important thing to remember is to find the strength in yourself and to not be ashamed to ask for help. We are all under a lot of pressure and, in some cases, the most strength one can possess is the ability to ask for help. You can regain so much more power when you let things go and find solutions rather than taking on everything in the world.
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