Interview: How do you live your professional fulfillment even with children


Jannike Stöhr tested 30 professions in a short time and wrote a book about it. Four years later she became a mother. And you asked yourself: how can I live my professional fulfillment even with a small child? She passes on her experience as a coach.

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Jannike Stöhr, 36, had it all: a secure job as an HR manager in an automotive group. And enough money. Her turning point came in 2014. her father, whose footsteps she had professionally followed, died. And she gave up everything: her job, her apartment, her possessions. Why? To find your dream job. In the year that she has tried 30 professions, she has learned one thing above all: “You can only have a fulfilling career if you take your feelings seriously and follow your intuition every step of the way.” Today Jannike Stöhr has her own coaching company.

Interview: how you can experience your professional fulfillment even with a small child

Parents Family: Jannike, before having your child, you completed your “30 jobs in a year” project – and for that you gave up your permanent position in an HR department…

Jannike Stöhr: At the time I was in a crisis of meaning. I didn’t just want to work for money, not climb any career ladder, I was looking for my calling. Then I tried my hand at being a taxidermist, an opera agent, and an amusement park manager, for example. Always for a week.

Many others also want to find their vocation. Even – or especially – when you have a small child in the house. What are the possibilities? Can you name jobs that, in your experience, are particularly suitable?

According to the motto “animal preparation can be wonderfully combined with motherhood”? No, that’s not how I work with my clients. They shouldn’t fit the job, but vice versa: the job should fit you. That’s why I ask: What are your values? Your interests? What are your natural strengths? And by that I don’t mean learned skills, where you get good results at work, but leave a lot of energy behind. I mean things that are easy and give you energy.

For example?

Some people like to organize or structure. Others to play with children and give them a feeling of security. Still others have a strong imagination. You can start by making a list of these strengths. Only for himself – uncensored. In my dream job experiment, I learned that a reality check is necessary. Because I just know what a job feels like when I try things. In fact, some things don’t satisfy me as much as I expected. Other activities, on the other hand, surprise me positively. Or I discover a new strength in myself. I have to hear it… good advice is of little use.

Dreams should be tried in reality, you say, and if for family reasons you don’t have much time for creative experiments?

I can even test it on a very small scale. No one has to test 30 jobs in a year like I do. I can also sit down daily, tackle small projects, or offer services to friends.

What are you thinking about

Maybe friends are thrilled with the home page you designed yourself. From the way you dress or decorate your home. If someone in your circle of acquaintances is relocating, I could offer my support as a furniture consultant on a trial basis. I can see: how should I proceed? What does my counterpart need? And above all: do I really enjoy it? You are right in the middle.

Suppose a mother of three young children discovers after some trial and error that she would like to tour the country with a band… how does it go? Finished, the dream?

As a musician or tour manager? If he can do that, then wonderful! However, I always look at the needs of my clients. If this woman also wants to spend a lot of time with her children, then I would explore her idea of ​​her more closely with her. What exactly excites you? Being on the go? Or rather the music or the affiliation to a group?

The last two points could also be done differently.

Those who have children usually also have a compatibility problem. Today you work as a coach. How did you negotiate with your husband the modalities of your professional activity?

I told him early in our relationship that having a family is not a must for me. But if we decide to have a kid, I’d only be there if we split all the obligations fifty-fifty. Limiting myself to just being a mother would not have been an option for me. Although of course it’s perfectly fine if other women discover their purpose in life just like that too.

How did your husband react?

It was obvious that he expected something else, namely that I would take care of our son most of the time. He had to sleep on it one night, then he accepted.

Only one night?

More or less, he made up his mind pretty quickly. My husband is older than me and he has earned much more. Of course, there was also the subject of earnings, men often earn more. My counter argument was that the only way I can increase my earnings is to stick with my career, not stop working. Saying it so clearly and also taking financial responsibility sharpened my focus even more.

And how did it go?

I got pregnant, had our son. It was cool, but I was also scared my life was over now. At least professionally. While the baby didn’t come as a surprise, the first three months of pregnancy plunged me into a depressive phase. This happened again after the end of the first quarter. Now it works, our agreements work. With very little discussion, by the way. Also because at home we have a system that establishes exactly who works and when and who takes care of the child. Our son is now in daycare, but when he is sick, support is always provided by the person who has planned not to have a working day. This way I never have to cancel appointments. And our son has a father who is present. For example, I didn’t have it.

And on the professional side? What has changed since birth?

I was doing a lot of fun projects that didn’t necessarily make me any money. Since as a mother I also want to spend time with my child, I had to change my way of working and focus on profitability. I have converted my 1:1 coaching into an online program where I accompany people on their path to professional fulfilment. This also gives me the opportunity to support people longer and more intensively, instead of just on a selective basis. So I got involved in online marketing. It’s not like you offer courses and everyone just comes. I was able to learn a lot there. But my shared responsibility for the family income and my desire to experience professional fulfillment as a mother gave me focus and energy.

Many women also have a guilty conscience if they want to continue working as mothers with ambition. The expectations of one’s family and society still play a role.

I appreciate my job and it’s a way for me to be effective. I think it’s important to give space to your own needs. I also see myself as a role model for my son. I want to set an example for him to take responsibility for his own well-being. With this strength I can be there again for my family much better.

Now you are both freelancers, you and your husband, and you just have to make arrangements. How can moms and dads achieve a happy work-life balance when they work? Many parents feel unable to make claims to their employer. If financial difficulties arise, they are simply afraid of losing their jobs.

From my point of view, it is not a matter of demands, but of examining what options there are for reconciling work and family. Especially in turning points in life like when we start a family, we can rethink what we really want in life. American psychologist Martin Seligman distinguishes between work, career and vocation. Do I just want to earn my rent somewhere? Or step by step up the ladder, even if it’s not mine? Or really fulfill me?

One of my clients became a mother and suddenly didn’t want to change jobs because the little girl had changed her priorities. But if you want both – a child and professional self-realization – then you should also look for ways to reconcile both. And of course defend it.

In my environment there are many mothers who transition into yoga, coaching or creative crafts, almost all jobs that do not bring much money. And you couldn’t do it without financial support from your partner.

That’s why it’s so important to look at profitability. What resources and what business model are needed to work profitably? A friend of mine opened an Etsy shop for the birth of her first child, now joined by her husband and brother. Of course, there are other stories as well. My self-employment hasn’t been without its setbacks either. It is important not to lose sight of the goal and stick to it. There are always solutions.

What tricks do your customers use to change things? Do they motivate themselves with mantras?

Nothing against mantras. But I prefer to rely on good strategies, business concepts and convincing applications.

Assuming you weren’t the mother of a three-year-old, what would you do for a living today?

I love my job. It’s going well, I also have a great team supporting me. I would do exactly what I do, just full time.

Anything more please?

Being a mother and finding a job that matches your skills: Jannike Stöhr helps women make this dream come true

Jannike Stöhr’s podcast “Head • Heart • Success” provides ideas and tips – for everyone who seeks professional happiness! Her book “The dream job experiment: 30 jobs in one year” was published by Eichborn, 15.99 euros.

And here too people give practical accounts of professional life:


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