To be active as a professional after coming back from maternity leave
Interviewer: Mami Kono
Kono：Today I`d like to talk about making a life plan. And today is your birthday, so Happy Birthday!!
Mende：Yes, 66 today. Repeated digits, seems like a good number, but it’s kind of an in-between year. I don`t know if I am classified as old or young?!
Kono：I turn 32 this year.
Mende：Wow, 32…When you were 29, just turning 30, did you feel the “I can`t believe I`m turning 30!” blues?
Kono：Yes!! I wasn`t married yet, but I had a really fulfilling job and private life. But I felt lost about where I was headed in life.
Mende： I always set goals or have an image marked off in 10-year segments.
Kono：When did you start setting goals?
Mende：When was that? I quit my office job at 40. Maybe after that, I really started to envision things around 42 or 43 and then what I would be doing at 52 or 53 and so on.
Kono：I returned from LPA Singapore this year and now I am going to have a baby. Up until now, all my time and energy went to whatever I wanted to do. But now I have a husband and soon a baby, I can`t live the single life anymore! So, I am in the process of searching for a goal or plan that I can carry with me through my thirties and forties. When I was in junior high or high school there is always seemed to be an event, test, important game, entrance exams, ect to keep me practicing or studying hard. In college, the big goals are finding a job or higher education. I really, really wanted to work overseas!! So I studied abroad in the USA, went to graduate school in Sweden, and then, started work at LPA Singapore. During this period in my life, my outlook was a very short term, six months to a year.
Mende： It`s a good idea to have an image of what and how you want to be in the future and then add a concrete year or years later to that image. In ten years, of course, we will all age, but it’s a good idea to have an image of that women you what to become.
Kono：Ten years later I want to be a hardworking career women. When I go to meetings or to a project site, I want to be the most experienced and look the part. I can`t wait to be able to work on my own and have my kids look up to me and think they have a rock star mom! I hope my kids will look at me and think they want to be like me in the future.
Mende：I see. As a mother, you have a feeling like you want your kids to look up to you and follow in your footsteps. I don`t think fathers feel like they want their sons or daughters to grow up always following in their footsteps.
Kono： As I was growing up, my mother was a piano teacher and since I can remember always taught piano. As I watched her growing up, I always thought I wanted to have a specialty of my own. So, if my kids can realize this and think this way I will be very happy. It doesn`t have to be the same specialty, but more a way of living or life goal.
Mende： As a mother and a professional, it’s a good idea to set a goal or image in five-year segments. For a mother, there is a period of time where you have to be at home. During this time you might be able to brush up on some skills or study for extra qualifications.
Kono：Yes! I am really worried about how time might just stand still as a professional while I am on maternity leave or busy with child care. I don`t want to entirely leave work behind while I am raising my kids, but find some way to improve myself or find something I can do only during this period in my life.
Mende：The bond between family members never ends, but raise children will come to an end. In 15 years or so, that baby will become a person of their own and go out into the world. But if you plan to work until you are 70 years old, you have 40 more professional years. It might be slow going at first, but once you finish raising your family, I bet you will become a sensational designer. I still think I am young, but those around me see as an old man! I don`t plan to build a rivalry with the younger generation, but there are advantages to getting old and making use of this experience is sure to agree with everyone. So again, it is a good idea to have an image of yourself as a 30 year old lighting designer, 40 year old lighting designer, 50 year old, 60 year old, and so on. However, it is not just about experience, but also passion. Whether you are a mother or not, you can always be a lighting designer and will always need to brush up your skills and be verbal about your specialty.
Kono：That is so true. I think I need to find that quality that makes me, me, so I can shine as an individual designer and improve myself while working on projects at LPA, already a specialized identity in lighting design. I want to be unique! I think I`ll layout some goals starting with 5 years from now.