Professional women power: Compatibility of career and family is not a one-way street


published on April 7

In the context of our career blog “professional women power”, female colleagues introduce themselves,
talk about their career paths and day to day work at Rödl & Partner.
In this way, we would like to raise awareness of women as well as motivate female applicants
and colleagues to bravely pursue their individual career paths at Rödl & Partner.

“Compatibility [of career and family] is not a one-way street; everyone must actively work for it.”

Anke Führlein

Anke Führlein is head of the service unit Training & Development at Rödl & Partner in Nuremberg. She has two boys (8, 19), works 35 hours a week, and leads a team of approximately fifteen people.


Anke, how do you manage your role at Rödl & Partner and your family life all at once?

Since the beginning, with great support and trust from my manager (Christian Rödl), I was able to shape my role independently and with a lot of leeway. Therefore, it fits my personal situation.

Actually, I had a bad feeling at the beginning about leaving my team in the afternoon to get my younger child, then 2 years old, from the day nursery. I trusted my team, of course, but I worried about not being there enough for everyone. Over time, these concerns settled because I noticed that my team was doing fine without me.
And in case of an emergency (and this was very rare) I was available via phone.

In addition, I experienced that very good, tightly structured planning is helpful for achieving the nearly impos­sible, ending projects well and reaching goals. Organizational skills and structure are truly important. As well as the ability to prioritize. By necessity, I had to learn the latter in the past few years. Moreover, Outlook helps me to keep on top of all appointments and tasks and OneNote to keep track of the many ideas and topics that shouldn't be forgotten.

Furthermore, I have also found that a lot of colleagues are quite sympathetic and accommodating when I de­cline to plan meetings after 4 PM. Of course, it happens every so often that – mostly plannable – appointments shift into the evening hours. As head of Training & Development, I am actively involved in many trainings, events and network meetings, and there are many evening appointments, especially during the spring and summer months. They are important for my role and with the help of my family I am able to organize them ahead of time. I have a different view on meetings and coordination dates that could take place during more family friendly times – here I generally insist on making them compatible with my family situation. In this case, it helps to be self-confident but friendly while proposing another time frame. 


What challenges are there in the process?

Challenges always happen when something doesn't go according to plan, for example a kid falls ill, you aren't fit yourself and the childcare by other family members or the kindergarten is spontaneously not available.

I have always found these situations burdening. Whereas, I would say that it has become easier for me to accept: “That's how it is, my child is ill, I can't change that and therefore I sadly can't take part in this meeting today.”

Especially the last pandemic year, with approximately 6 months of home-schooling a first grader and home office felt like a massive challenge for me. It helped to not be too strict with myself in this time. I didn't blame myself when the younger one spent the whole day in his pyjamas and watched more TV than is actually good for him, when dinner was frozen pizza, or the house was looking terrible …. In such phases one shouldn't stress oneself due to perfectionism – instead one should try to enjoy the little wonderful moments in those trying times.


Do you have a tip for female colleagues that want to advance their careers while simultaneously still putting focus on their family?

For me, family is very important. I couldn't have chosen between family and career. My professional and per­sonal development were always significant for me too, but having a career isn't something I would have wanted for any price. In my opinion, professional development resp. a career happens automatically – with a little luck – when finding a fitting job, a fitting team, and a fitting manager – and that is the case for me at Rödl & Partner. Luckily, I have a job that brings me joy (nearly) every day, a wonderful, supportive team, and a manager that I really hold in high esteem. For me those factors lead on one hand to being myself – authentic, honest, without warping myself – and on the other hand to being ready to give a lot and cross lines to reach professional goals.

I am aware that not every colleague can say for themselves to also have found the fitting role, fitting team, and fitting manager for achieving compatibility of career and family. It is important to be honest with one's manager and colleagues regarding needs stemming from the family situation and at the same time having an honest in­terest in the needs of one's manager and colleagues. Compatibility is not a one-way street; everyone must actively work for it.

In general, it is helpful for me to continuously reflect on myself and to try to be more relaxed regarding profes­sional goals and familial perfectionism. Otherwise, the balancing act between career and family would be too strenuous. 


Thank you, Anke, for your personal insights and your inspiring impressions. It's really great that you opened our career blog with your contribution!
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