There are many, well-known advantages to being a parent. But have you ever considered what skills you are developing whilst bringing up children? Those moments of careful negotiation to get baby or toddler to bed may well be really useful out in the world of work, and those seemingly devious strategies you employed in order to attain the end result you wanted could actually have provided you with problem solving skills you never realised you had!
The great thing about Health and Safety is that it’s a role that you can begin at almost any age, and for people who have already experienced the joys of parenthood, it’s likely that many of the skills you acquired or called on during the parenting process will be instantly transferrable.
So, what health and safety qualities do you already have under your belt as a parent?
- Communication skills – The art of communication is vital in the health and safety world. Whether it’s talking to industry professionals or colleagues, the job involves effective communication. As a parent you’ll have already developed the skill of speaking clearly and making yourself understood. You’ll be a master in the art of managing misconceptions and understanding different individuals, communication involves talking and listening, skills you’ve got down pat.
- Organisational skills – Health and safety professionals have a lot to keep track of. Whether it’s the ability to find certain records or being ready for whatever issue they’ll be dealing with next, organisation is of the utmost importance. As a parent you’re certainly adept at organisation to the level of military precision. Even if you don’t know exactly where those things you need are immediately, chances are you can find them with ease, just like you do every morning ready for the school run. Organising started early in the parenting process and has continued ever since.
- Calmness under pressure – Not everyone buys in immediately to the need for effective health and safety procedures. No matter how disinterested or irate someone gets you need to stay calm and helpful, that’s your job. As a parent you learn the ancient art of negotiation very early on. Put simply, you want to keep your kid happy. That doesn’t necessarily mean spoiling them, of course, but it does mean listening to them and figuring out a way to provide for their wants. It also means patience, sometimes a seemingly impossible amount of patience!
- Problem solving – As with any job, things aren’t always clear-cut in the Health and Safety world. Problem solving is a must-have skill to get through each day whether dealing with families, colleagues or superiors. Coincidentally, problem solving is pretty important as a parent, too. You never know what’s going to come up with kids. And with them, it’s not just your problem, but theirs, too. Even though you taught them their own problem solving strategies, often they still need you to help out.
- Multi-tasking – In a Health and Safety environment you will be expected to wear many hats, on occasion all at the same time. For parents of both sexes multitasking is an everyday activity. Can you make dinner while helping one child with homework and watching the other outside kicking a football? Of course you can. Whether you have one child or four, you know all about multitasking.
- Assessing risk – It’s amazing how your senses seem to be heightened when you’re a parent. With each new environment you encounter, a full assessment is carried out within your brain, highlighting possible dangers and threats to your young one. Not only do you cover all possibilities more than effectively but you do it remarkably quickly too. Providing risk assessments is much the same thing. Sure, you may have to look for specifics to the industry you’re working in but many of the processes are similar and if you’re able to adapt to new guidelines and situations you’re well on your way.
It’s easy to underestimate the skills you need to be a parent. It’s also amazing how many of those skills are transferrable to a work environment. So, during those times as a parent when your brain appears to have been reduced to a mush of confusion and anxiety, amaze yourself by thinking about what you’re actually achieving and the skills you are developing!