My work and life today as a Salesforce Supermum was not something I foresaw happening, but in retrospect, it was one of the best career moves I could have made. This post is about how I made that move, and why it’s something I’d recommend to anyone who needs a flexible and sustainable career around the demands of mother (or father) hood.
From Lucrative Law Career to Salesforce Consultant
Ten years ago, I decided to abandon a lucrative career as a lawyer and indulge my passion for rowing as coach. If you had told me at that point that a decade later I would be working in the IT sector – not just as a end user but as a consultant – I would have questioned your sanity. However here I am, a qualified Salesforce administrator and consultant advising other people on how to use a system that, when I was studying for that lucrative law career – I didn’t know existed.
Singing Jingle Bells and Writing HTML Code
Ironically my increased knowledge and usage of Salesforce coincided with another event in my life – becoming a mother. I am aware that singing jingle bells at two am and writing HTML code have very little in common but I have the same feeling of “how on earth did I end up here?” while doing both.
The comparisons between Salesforce and motherhood continue. Both situations can be compared to an ocean. Initially, the idea of venturing out to explore can seem very daunting, it’s big, unpredictable and you really doubt if you can swim well enough to survive. In that respect, Salesforce had the advantage over being a mum – better accessibility to metaphorical lifeboats.
Salesforce a Unique Opportunity for New Parents
On my second maternity leave, I came across the Salesforce Supermum’s course delivered by Economic Change. I’d been using Salesforce as an end user for a few years and I knew just enough about it to know that training as an administrator would at least be interesting, if nothing else. That course was my moment of sanity in an otherwise slightly crazy 9 months with two children under three. It gave me a focus above and beyond being a mum and opened a whole new world of possibilities.
Salesforce has put an emphasis on gender equality in recent years, and quite rightly so, but it is also uniquely placed in the market to facilitate and support mothers (but also fathers) in a flexible role which, if managed properly, can contribute to a more healthy work-life balance. The IT sector in general does, of course, allow for more flexible working opportunities than some careers but Salesforce is unique in that you do not need to be a developer extraordinaire with an IT degree to access this. I have a law degree, a rowing coach qualification and a few years of practical experience in programme management and the really amazing thing is that if you speak to most of the Salesforce community, you’ll find that they are in a similar situation.
Yes, there are the true techies who actually understand the difference between SOAP and REST API but the majority of people who work in Salesforce don’t. We don’t need to. 99% of Salesforce is knowing where to find things and then moving them around a little bit so it looks nice. Once you know how to find the things – you can show other people how to find the things and spread the joy of Salesforce around the world all from the comfort of your own couch.
You’re Never Alone – Support From Wherever You Work
My Salesforce journey is still in its beginning stages, although my Trailhead addiction is firmly established. I am still trying to figure out where I can take this but what I have learned is that part of Salesforce’s appeal is the community spirit or Ohana that comes along with it. If it’s not on google then there is always someone online who is willing to give you advice on how to form that formula, build that process or work that flow. Eagerness to share knowledge seems to be one of the key traits of most people in the Salesforce universe and generally it is actually useful advice.
One of the hazards of the remote working environment (and being a mother) is a tendency to feel a bit disconnected from people in general and adults in particular, but if you do participate in the various communities then you’re never going to feel isolated or unsure of where to go.
A Positive Outlook on my Future
Based on the massive career shifts I’ve made since leaving University, I’m not going to try and predict what my world will look like in another 10 years. What I do know is that the step I took into Salesforce has opened up a whole new spectrum of opportunities for me and given me the support necessary to follow any path I want. Maybe I will become a developer in the end – I have another few months of maternity leave coming up – this could be my new challenge.
Over To You: My Recommended Starting Point
If you are debating whether to get involved with Salesforce in some way shape or form, I would suggest doing a course that has a bit more of a focus beyond just the theoretical knowledge. There is so much out there that it makes sense to start utilising a community from day one. Courses such as the Supermums course that I completed give you a well-rounded experience of how Salesforce can benefit you.
Obviously, all of the advice I’ve given above is just as applicable for Dad’s as well as Mum’s and a flexible working environment can benefit everyone regardless of their family status but I do hope that my story will resonate with other Mum’s and potential employers. Getting Mums back into fulfilling work benefits everyone – who doesn’t want a Supermum on their team!
If you’d like more information about the Salesforce Supermums course you can find that here.
About Salesforce Supermums
Salesforce is pledging to train 400K people in the UK in the next 5 years and they are working in partnership with Salesforce Supermums to help execute this shared vision. Trailhead is a key part of the learning journey as it provides a free learning platform for the eco-system, and Supermums uses Trailhead combined with work experience, mentoring and job search support, to accelerate their career from vision to reality. Heather Black, the CEO and Founder of Supermums is delighted to share her vision for the programme in the Key Note Speech at World Tour on Thursday.