It Is Important to Prioritize Yourself
Life is too boring without an exciting job, and so even though Sofia Moulvad Veranen has two small children, she also has clear ideas about prioritizing her career.
The second period of maternity leave has just finished for Sofia Moulvad Veranen, who is a junior partner at McKinsey. She is going back highly motivated and, as a mother to two small children, she is something of a rarity at the consultancy group. Her husband has precisely the same career as Sofia. “With two high-flying careers, it is a challenge sometimes to get things to come together, but it also results in mutual understanding. I have seen many women change their priorities after having children, but I am still driven by my work, even though it sometimes requires a lot. And it is not always easy to not be like most other mothers, and you have to be able to put others’ opinions about you to one side.”
Maternity Leave Abroad
Dealing with other people’s opinions about all kinds of things is going well for Sofia, and even though equality is not exactly one of her favourite subjects, she nonetheless has clear opinions.
“When you have children, you discover the structural differences. Typically, a mother goes on maternity leave, and in the meantime the father moves on in his job. And so the couple can readily prioritize his career afterwards. I’ve seen it happen many times. If your husband rushes in that direction, as a woman you must also remember to prioritize yourself and your career if it is important to you.”
Sofia and her husband have shared parental leave, and both times the couple combined it with being stationed abroad. This has made it possible to be very close as a family. “If we’d been in Denmark, I probably wouldn’t have held a 10-month-long maternity leave. If I’m completely honest, I would’ve probably been bored and missed my job too much! By being abroad, we’ve been able to have an adventure together as well.”
There has always been an adventurer in Sofia. Her college exams included high-level mathematics and French, and one week after she graduated, she went to southern France. Here, Sofia studied sociology for a semester and worked as an estate agent. She stayed there for two years, and that gave her time to think about the future. When she came home, Sofia started at CBS.
“I was ambitious, and so were the people I socialized with. I had also looked into different educations and thought that an MSc in International Business at a business school would give me access to as much as possible, and it is also recognized by both Danish and international companies.” During the education, Sofia had a study job at A. P. Møller Maersk, where she had the prospect of an attractive offer. But she landed on McKinsey after realizing it was now or never, and especially before having children, that she was going to try the consultancy business.
Set Boundaries and Say Them out Loud
“In the beginning, I thought that I would work there for two to three years, but I’ve stayed because it’s so exciting to solve complex problems together with large Danish and interna-tional companies. There is no manual here. For each new task or problem, we use our global network of knowledge and experts.”
Sofia recognizes that because every solution is unique, McKinsey’s work methods are somewhat of a black box, but that just makes it more interesting. It also means periods of intense work pressure, and it requires prioritization.
“We’ve chosen to have help at home, because our everyday lives are unpredictable. When we’re at home, we don’t spend time on shopping or washing clothes but can instead prioritize collecting the children and playing with them. Also, we’ve both informed work that we cannot travel all the time. You have to dare to set your boundaries and say them out loud. Then, you are often allowed to do most things.”