A Little About Ayesha:
I am a 26-year-old married woman (turning 27 next month as far as my memory goes smirks) and a dentist by profession. I did my O-levels from Springfield School. Followed by A-levels from The Lyceum School. My life-long dream got me to enrol in a medical school and approximately four years later I graduated as a dentist, with 7 distinctions and third position in the class. A year-long house job training followed. Then came the tough choice to go for Masters or to look for entry level dental jobs. I chose the latter and within 3 weeks was offered a Lecturer’s position in the same institution. Alongside I also was hired by a neighbourhood dental clinic for evening shifts. Just about a year later I got married. It’s been 5 months into my marriage and I am still working the same 10 hours a day.
- Tell us a little more about your career aspirations…have you always wanted to be a working woman, did you get inspired your mum who works or something else?
I got my braces when I was in Grade 7. Since then my dentist and his wife have been my source of inspiration. The duo always somehow inspired me to be like them. Of course beside their personality and work, I was always motivated by their flexible working hours and lack of emergency situations. Therefore, since then I somehow knew that this is what I want to do and managed to achieve my goal.
(That’s quite a unique reason to become a dentist but inspiring nonetheless…you managed to pursue the profession you had been dreaming about since school. I don’t know many people who have managed to achieve that!)
- Living in a Pakistani society where families have high expectations from “the wife”, “the daughter-in-law” – how difficult do you find striking a perfect work-life balance?
Very well-said! Indeed like any other in-laws I am sure mine have high expectations from me as well, from being a homemaker, cook and of course make social appearances. But luckily my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws do their own share of voluntary work and studies, so everyone is busy and they understand the struggle of a working woman. However, as it may seem from the outside, it is not always rainbows and butterflies. Handling a 4D job (dynamic, as opposed to a desk job) and then being expected to take part in household chores, managing expectations and spending time with my husband is not easy at all. It takes nothing less than a superwoman to manage everything. But in the end, it is all worth it when I see a satisfied husband and his family 😉
(So true Ayesha! It all requires a lot of time and effort on our parts but it is all worth it in the end)
- What about your husband and in-laws are they supportive enough or are you expected to get home and rush into the kitchen to help with dinner?
Oh yes, my new family especially my husband is super supportive of my career. They acknowledge the fact that I would not let my years of struggle and dreams go to waste. Therefore, they always have my back. But at the same time, I also realise that it’s supposed to be a two-way street, so I try to be of whatever little help possible.
- What would you say are the 5 must-dos to achieve a a good work-life balance?
*A shy smile played on Ayesha’s lips* I feel I am not experienced enough to comment on this one. But:
1. During working days, try keeping the work limited to the office time so you can spend quality time with family after work and not just end up thinking about work;
2. Keep your weekends work-free and spend maximum time with family;
3. When you get home from work, don’t expect to get dinner in bed or in front of the television. You would have to do your share of helping around;
4. Have flexible working hours and days; and
5. Take a genuine interest in the workings of your home and proactively take up at least a couple of responsibilities on your own.
- Five years from now, do you think you’d still be working or do you think you’ve had enough of managing the house and work?
Oh well, that’s a tough one. As much as I want to continue working the same way, I do not think it’ll be possible especially if I want to start a family of my own. But I might still be working lesser hours, since this is one of those fields in which once you are out of practise, it’s difficult to get back in!
- What message do you have for all the women who are torn between the society’s pressure to get married and at their fear of not being able to pursue their dreams after marriage?
To be honest, I had similar fears before getting married. But I talked to my future in-laws and fiancé about it, and surprisingly everyone was in favour of me continuing my professional career. Alhamdulilah.
So all I would say is, open communication is the key. Talk all this out before the wedding, so that you are not in for any disappointments. And if it’s a “no” from them, accept it. You would be repaid by GOD in some other manner, have faith!
(Wow! Your advice would be so inspiring to young ladies who wanted to work but are either housewives or stay home mums now…I am pretty sure they might have that little regret buried somewhere deep in their hearts but your advice was beautiful! Surely they will get repaid by God in some other form! Inshallah!)
- All questions have been answered by Ayesha in her personal capacity and will have no impact on the organisation she works for;
- Please do not spam Ayesha with personal questions, she has answered the questions in good faith to help girls and woman stuck between the society’s demands and their own wishes. If you have any questions for Ayesha or me, feel free to comment below and we will try and answer them.
When: 4 June 2016
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Also, don’t forget what our previous panelist had to say: