Angelique Magliulo Hager is a senior manager of Firmwide Lawyer Development at Orrick, where she juggles 1,000 demands a day — but always makes time for snuggling with her daughters at night. From doing it “all” (or rather, enough) to revealing how to make it through the “messy middle,” Angelique explores lessons she’s learned as a working parent in our Sweet Life Spotlight.
Apiari: How do you do it all?
AMH: I don’t! I do enough. One of the greatest gifts my boss gave me was the permission to ask myself (and others, when appropriate): Does this need to get done now? And does it need to get done by me?
Before, I would see emails come in late at night or on the weekends and felt like I needed to drop everything and respond. Now, I realize that I can set reasonable expectations and healthy boundaries. Understanding that sometimes my personal life takes priority and sometimes my professional life takes priority has been transformative.
Apiari: As a working parent, what was the hardest thing you had to learn?
AMH: Part of learning to “do enough” versus “doing it all” means letting go of needing to be in control. That includes accepting that well enough is good enough.
I was raised to be the “responsible one” in my family – the one who takes care of everyone else, remembers all the important occasions, organizes and hosts all the family gatherings, and so on. It didn’t occur to me to ask others for help or rely on others to take the lead. I was also taught to maintain the highest standards, which led to a tendency to be a perfectionist and a micromanager.
Apiari: What turning point brought on the change?
AMH: When I had to go on unexpected medical leave, I was forced to accept help. Help from a new team member who was unfamiliar with the role and the inner workings of our law firm because my other colleague, who otherwise could have covered for me, was also out on leave. I had to learn to be okay with things not being done in my preferred way. And you know what? Not only was the result good enough, but in some cases, it was better than I could have imagined. Even when there were “oops” moments, the world didn’t fall apart!
Apiari: What was your proudest moment?
AMH: I am very proud when I witness our children showing compassion toward others when nobody’s watching. I’ve seen them comfort a child at school, offer their meal to a homeless person, and even try to make me feel better after I’ve had a challenging day. It’s so beautiful and pure. Two of our favorite things right now are The Kindness Campaign and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
Apiari: What’s your favorite work/life hack?
AMH: I try to spend quiet time with our kids every night. We’re so busy with work, school, and activities that we rarely have dinner together during the week. Weekends are no better, with sports games, kids’ birthday parties, and family and friend gatherings. We don’t really read together anymore since our girls can do that on their own now, but we always snuggle up at bedtime and talk about our day. It forces me to unplug, and that’s when the kids relax and let their guards down. We have the best conversations during these times.
One of my daughters sheds her “I’m a big girl” persona and asks for cuddles every night. The other opens up and shares EVERYTHING with me as soon as her head hits her pillow. It’s a wonderful way for us to just be with each other.
Apiari: As an HR professional, what do you think women should do to grow their careers during the “messy middle”*?
AMH: Continue to nurture your relationships with others, both at work and outside of work. Don’t lose sight of the importance of connections and their impact on your career satisfaction. It’s so easy to come to work, focus on completing your tasks, and leave without speaking to anyone, but this inadvertent (or even purposeful) self-isolation can be damaging to your career and work-life satisfaction.
Make time for that coffee date or my favorite, the “walk and talk.” Your colleagues and friends may be going through the messy middle, too, and might appreciate the chance for human connection. I know that whenever I take the time to connect with a colleague, I feel much happier. I have a friend who calls me randomly whenever she finds the “imperfect seven minutes” to chat. You’d be surprised how impactful that can be. We’re all in this messy middle madness together, so let’s DO US TOGETHER!
*Messy middle: A term we use at Apiari to sum up being in the middle generation, middle income, middle-aged, and middle management.
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