How menopause affects your career (Part 2)
Episode 27 - Menopause and work: How uncertainty and stress impact women's career with Dr. Fatima Khan
This is part 2 of a 2-part interview with Dr. Fatima Khan, a Menopause Specialist, discussing how menopause and hormonal imbalances affect women's careers from as early as the mid-30s. I go into detail about Fatima's training in my introduction on part 1, so please listen to that episode first (Ep.26) to learn more about her background, and most importantly, to listen to her introduction to the issues, we will be unpacking in this second half of our discussion.
After quite a few weeks of podcasts focusing squarely on COVID-19, the interview with Fatima turned out to be an absolute winner. Downloads have been massive, so thank you so much to everyone who has been listening, and I've also received calls, emails, and messages of support. I love it when this happens: when I take somewhat of a risk – frankly, I wasn't sure if it was the right time to release an episode about menopause during a covid pandemic! But it seems you liked it! It shows we are in tune with each other. And thank you for giving me the feedback. Good or bad, we must continue to communicate, so the episodes are always exciting and something you look forward to.
In this part 2 of the interview with Dr. Fatima Khan, we talk about the stress that comes from juggling career and family life, from deciding when/if to have kids and considering if you will be able to cope with it all. It's palpable how much Fatima is concerned about women's wellbeing and her concern about how stress and anxiety are impacting not only our career progression but our overall health. Fatima worries that right when we reach the career level that we aspire, we encounter the stigma of women not being influential leaders or decision-makers. Her goal is to ensure hormonal imbalances are not affecting women at this time, that they are under control, so women feel in control.
I interviewed Fatima at the very beginning of covid, so I also had the opportunity to ask her about the anxiety brought about by the lockdown and how it can impact us. Below is a list we prepared for you to help you maintain your well-being during these challenging times.
Dr. Fatima Khan's top advice for women's wellbeing:
Journaling: as discussed last week, this is the primary framework suggested by Dr. Khan. It helps bring awareness and consciousness to what is happening to our bodies before and after our menstruation.
With the help of your doctor, take the proper supplements to help our hormones. Fatima mentions a few as examples and for educational purposes: magnesium powder, fish oil, vitamin B, iron supplement, 1000 mg of liposomal vitamin C. If you're finding you're getting a bit sick, you can take vitamin C up to three times a day.
Seven to ten days before your period, change your workout routine into more calming rehabilitative workouts.
Find purpose and meaning through connection and helping other people. It can be doing some volunteer work that is very helpful these days or simply buying someone's groceries. This will give us a sense of fulfillment and contentment, something outside of ourselves.
Practice the act of Kindness: We have talked about taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Kindness is almost contagious when you try and do things for other people without thinking of gain for yourself and food for the soul.
Practice self-reflection: Self-reflection is one of the most fundamental things to do because when we self-reflect, we get a better perspective of what we want to do or what we can change. And this will help us immensely in our careers as well.
In this time of the pandemic, it is important to know that feeling anxious is our body's normal reaction.
Stop listening to the news all the time. Only look at the news once a day, and go back to your regular routine. Do the things you would typically do.
Do some activities that you love to take your mind off things and let you relax, such as dancing, cooking, baking, and puzzles. Legos are fantastic for mindfulness.
Follow good sleep hygiene. Refer to last week's interview show notes.
Finally, it is important to have compassion, not just in this time of the pandemic but also in our careers. We don't know what each person is going through, and it sometimes helps put ourselves on their feet.
Don't forget to be aware of the symptoms and signs of perimenopause and menopause and get the proper treatment. See the links below.
Dr. Fatima Khan is a member of the AGORA Medical Specialist Centre and Medical Education team, based in Melbourne. When this episode goes live, as we are in lockdown mode due to COVID-19, the Australian Government has enabled doctors to see patients remotely via telehealth. So this is an excellent opportunity if you are based in Australia and would like to book an appointment with her. I will list the contact details for Fatima and other Agora Medical Clinic in the episode show notes.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Transcript of this episode
This is part 2 of a 2 part interview with Dr. Fatima Khan, a menopause specialist. Where we discuss how menopause and hormonal imbalances affect women’s career from as early as mid-thirties. I go into more detail about Fatima’s training in my introduction on part 1 which is episode 26 of The Job Hunting Podcast. And I encourage you to go back to that episode than listen to it first before you continue to listen to this episode. After quite a few weeks of podcasts focusing squarely on covid-19, the interview with Fatima turned out to be an absolute winner. Downloads were through the roof, so thank you so much to everyone who has been listening. And I’ve also received calls, emails and messages of support. I love it when this happens, when I take somewhat of a risk, because frankly I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to launch a podcast interview about menopause. But it did pay off, and it shows that we are somewhat in tune with each other and thank you for giving me the feedback as well.
Good or bad it’s always good to hear from you, because this way I can always make sure that the episodes that I am posting for you are of interest to you and something that you are looking forward to listening to. So I love when I get ideas from you, always keep in touch with me. And talking about feedback, I’d really appreciate it if you could take one moment and leave this podcast a review on iTunes. ITunes reviews are really important for searchability of the podcast episode and podcast shows. It’s what makes a podcast popular and easy to find for others around the globe who may be experiencing the same issues you are, and would really benefit from listening. So please pay it forward, give my podcast a 5 star review and write a review as well. It would mean the world to me, and it would really help a fellow job hunter somewhere around the globe. You may not know this, but we have listeners from all over the world. Less than half of my listeners are from Australia, where I am from. The rest is spread around the globe from Africa to the Caribbean islands, Europe, and Asia. It’s truly fascinating to receive the statistics every week. It shows that career planning and job hunting are truly universal topics, and despite a few regional and cultural adjustments, which I’m assuming that the listener will be able to make, there’s a whole lot of techniques and strategies that are truly universal and easy to apply anywhere you are. The way to give a 5-star rating and review on iTunes is to scroll to the bottom of the podcast link, and tap to rate the 5 stars and then select ‘to write a review’. From the desktop you can do it as well, you can go to the show notes and there will be a link there for you to follow.
I’m Renata Bernarde, if you are new to this podcast, this is The Job Hunting Podcast. And the aim of this podcast is to help you nail your next job and have the career you want. If you’re currently on the market looking for a new job, or if you want tips on how to advance and change careers, make sure that you follow this podcast on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, or better still you can sign up for The Reset Your Career community on my website, there will be a link on the show notes, and I will send the new episode to you every week. On my website you will find previous podcast episodes, videos of my live coaching sessions, a tv interview that I did recently, you can sign up to the Reset Your Career Community, and get my kit of essential resources for job hunters for free. You can also check my coaching services and my online course, which is called The Job Hunting Made Simple. And when you sign up for The Reset Your Career, I will send you essential resources for job hunters which include a masterclass, a guide for you to start job hunting, an email template for you to contact recruiters, and so on. This is all the essential kit and tool sets that you will need to get yourself job hunting and planning your next career steps. If you have not listened to previous episodes of this podcast, we recently have done a series of covid related episodes that you may want to listen to as soon as possible. In fact, to make things simpler for you, I have put together a list of essential covid resources for job hunters and work from home professionals. They include the podcast that are most relevant for this point in time, the live coaching sessions that I’ve done about covid, additional articles, especially curated links to help you keep on top of what’s important to know right now, as a corporate professional as we prepare ourselves for future job interviews and to adjust our career plans. There’s a link to those resources on the episode show notes.
Ok so in this part 2 of the interview with Dr. Fatima Khan, we talk about the stress that comes from juggling career and family life. From deciding when, and if to have kids, and considering if you will be able to cope with it all. It’s palpable how much Fatima is concerned about women’s well-being and her concern about how stress and anxiety is impacting not only our career progression, but out over all health. Fatima worries that right when we reach the career levels that we aspire, we encounter this stigma of women not being effective leaders or decision makers. Her goal is to ensure hormonal imbalances are not affecting women at this time that they are under control so women feel in control. I interviewed Fatima at the beginning of covid, so I also had the opportunity to ask her about the anxiety and stress brought about by the lockdown and how it can impact us as well. In the episode show notes we have a list of all of the tips and advice that she gives during the podcast interview. So, make sure you go to the episode show notes to have a look at that. I hope you enjoy this final interview with Fatima, if you want to talk to Fatima or have a consultation with her, the links to her medical practice is also in the episode show notes. Without further ado, have a great time listening to this interview. Ciao for now.
Renata: Ah, this is fantastic. The other group of women that I wanted to ask you about, and you mentioned, you know, they don't come to me at the right age. And because I see quite a few of them, you know, the women in their thirties and I will tell you a little bit about the sort of issues that they have. They may be at the point in their careers where they're so anxious about not having achieved what they wanted to achieve in their careers, but also they haven't really started a family yet. So they're in that kind of in between situation. And that making that is banking them so stressed and so anxious. So they seek coaching support to reach that next level in their career so that they can then have kids. And it's a hard one for me because having done that myself, I know how hard it is to actually be in a lead in a new leadership role and then having to go out on a maternity leave and then come back, you know? So I tried to navigate that with them and, and then develop a long-term career plan, a plan that is not about the next five years, but it's about the next 30 years so that they can have a better helicopter view of their lives and put things into perspective a little bit more because that's short termism, is really stressing them out. What would you recommend women of that age to do for their wellbeing? And is there any sort of, opportunity for them to get support from you as a practitioner as well for them to see you?
Fatima: So, I mean, I think in, in generally in this age group, it's, I mean, I understand a lot of them necessarily don't have, haven't met that tick box list, you know, which was have, get married, have the kids, and that's not in 30 now that's really happening in women, in women who are in their late thirties, and early forties. Which is actually a good thing in terms of career progression because they can really focus on their career and get to the post and a stage where they want to get to and then focus on finding that partner and having children. But the problem, I find these women, a lot of them, they come to me with two things, either with premenstrual tension, which is again, they don't recognise it. I'm giving it a diagnosis, but in their mind, they're not coping. In their mind they're being overwhelmed. In their mind they're not performing, they're making wrong decisions. They're being irrational or being called aggressive by some of their male colleagues. And it's because they're not really, journaling where they are in their cycle. So if that's the first thing they can do, that's really important to know how to manage your mood, your emotional and mental wellbeing, which is directly linked to your performance at work. And vice versa. So if you're, if you're stressed at work that impacts your hormones and if you, if you're not aware of what's going on your cycle that will impact your work performance. And the women who do really well are those women who are very mindful, who are very connected because they understand what my body's needs are and they will reshape the environment to meet those needs. And similarly, when they know what their work needs are, they will be able to work around and adjust their mental and physical health to kind of mould around their work needs. In terms of, advice for fertility. Did you want to ask or…
Renata: No, it's really managing stress levels and managing their pain because the fact that they're so stressed, is impacting their career progression. You know, I, I'm not a counsellor or a life coach, I'm a career coach, but I can see how stressful that whole conundrum that they find themselves in is impacting their career progression because they want career progression so badly and so quickly. But they're also so stressed that their narrative and their body language and their behaviour is, and it is not really helping them perform well at work.
Fatima: So I mean I could always go back to that framework of, they all need to journal daily, which I've already gone through the framework because otherwise they don't recognise and become aware. The first step, I bet you if you took 10 women, eight of them, eight of them don't even recognise that they're suffering from stress and they’re just compensating by, it's their partners who notice it. It's their children who notice it. It's their friends who notice it. So the first step is awareness and conscious awareness. Bringing your attention with journaling is fantastic and linking it to menstruation is even better. The second thing I get these women to do also is to take the supplements, especially if they’re not taking them throughout, magnesium, herbs, fish oil and a B complex is very good for your body's stress response. So it helps build your body's resilience. It helps build your kind of focus and concentration so you're not having to work as hard when you're feeling exhausted and then the exercise again needs to be altered.
Fatima: I think we're all going to the gym, which is great or exercising, but when these aren't what I call rehabilitative exercises, they're actually stealing away your kind of stress reserve. So when times are hard, your body can't cope. So I tend to say to them great, do cardio twice a week, but you need to do weight training, you need to do yoga, especially if you're stressed, you need to do more rehabilitative, Pilates, yoga, and if you really want to go to the gym, then I want you to do a hit workout or do weights. Changing the workout is really important because a lot of the younger generation are really doing lots of excessive high intensity workouts, which depletes them of this energy. So we've talked about supplements, we talked about changing the exercises and journaling.
Fatima: Finally, I think a lot of people, as you talked about having perspective, they've lost that connection and purpose and meaning to their life in terms of it's not just about work. Life is more than just turning up to work, taking a check pay and getting that, you know, medal that you got to that executive. Life is about having a meaning and purpose, which is outside of work. And we all know that comes from things like connection. And that connection is for doing something for someone in the community, someone in the family. Because when we focus on trying to connect and doing things as an act of kindness, the focus becomes on something else. It's not being me because being me and focusing on me is actually quite a lot of hard work and it doesn't give you a sense of satisfaction. And then we become quite critical and judgmental. And that's the problem now there's this, there's this expectation of constantly performing and we're not meant to do that. Okay? It's a very corporate view about we're all about production, productivity, performance, consumption, and as humans, those are not our needs.
Fatima: As humans, we need to focus on our physical, emotional, but our heart, and heart and the sense of contentment, fulfilment, the sense of release comes from when we're trying to connect with ourselves, but also people in the community and doing an act of kindness. You know, kindness is almost contagious when you try and do things for other people, without thinking of gain for our self and actually is food for the soul. It makes you, it gives the sense of satisfaction from it. You know what? I've done something great today, which has no materialistic value for me, but it's essential to treat that sense of stress and that sense of purpose and meaning to your life. And I feel like that's the problem. They're under so much pressure of their existence and validating their existence to tangible, materialistic things. The picture, the house, the nice car, the nice bag or whatever things they need to do. But there is more to life than just this. And if you speak to all the people who are much more mature and older, work was one aspect of their life. That contentment comes from connecting and giving because that's when we feel almost relaxed and we've got a sense of purpose in life.
Fatima: And the narrative has to change as well and I think that's the main thing we need to learn to evolve. But you can only evolve when you self-reflect and self-reflection is hard. You know? No one wants to, it's hard work because you need to think and you need to look at what you can do better and how you can do, how what you can improve. And you know.
Renata: That's the hardest thing I do because I have a seven step framework that I use with my clients. I've been using the same framework for years and the self-reflection is the first week and I tried to move that to let's say the third week because they are so reluctant to do that self-reflection right at the beginning of the programme. And I have feared that I would lose my clients. But you know what happens, once they actually complete the programme and I asked for the, I asked for their feedback. That's the, that's the part that they liked. You know, looking back, you know, when they can look back then they see the value of it. But getting them into it is like pulling teeth.
Fatima: That's probably the most fundamental thing. Because the reason why they can't get that job or the reason why they can't, their relationship's not working is because they're not self-reflecting. Because when you self-reflect, we're able to have better perspective and evolve on a daily basis and be like, okay well you know what, I was slightly out of order, that was my fault. Maybe I need to change. And we don't, you know, I think people are evolving because mindsets are changing. But until we look inwards and not look outwards for help because you know, we can all help ourselves, we just need to start by looking inwards, helping ourselves. Help has always opportunities out there, everything's always there, you need to change your perception and the lens you're using to look at these things and see actually what is it that I can do to change and evolve. And I’m a completely different person too, in my twenties and my thirties and now in forties and I'm completely different through this process of self-reflection. Which I've only really started in the last five to six years, and apart from that, I thought I knew everything and there was nothing wrong with me.
Renata: But Fatima, we've been forced into self-reflection mode now. Like the, the whole structure of our world has completely collapsed. And this is the time when we can self-reflect. I still have been getting prospect clients calling me and asking me to help them just write a resume and I don't do that. You know, I only write resumes if you are a CEO of A and you want to be a CEO of B. Or if you are a, you know, up and coming, your a financial controller and you want to be a CFO, that's if you, that means you already know what you want. I don't do resume writing services for people that are completely lost, you know, and not, not having any direction because I can't promise that they will have any results from it. Right. So what's the point of charging people money to do something that's quite expensive if it's not going to get them a job or an interview?
Renata: So I say no to that and I said, I say to them, this is not the time nobody's actually going to be looking at this properly. The only jobs that are advertised right now are fruit pickers, you know, shop fitters, people to work in, you know, urgent, emerging, areas. This is not for you. My clientele is usually a middle managers to senior managers, and I am asking them stay still for the next two to three weeks, you know, and do some grieving, some self-reflection and then some analysis and learning of where the world's is going because your career might need to change and adjust before you start networking. Every company is actually transformed and readjusting to working from home. They're not advertising roles at the moment. Just wait a couple of weeks if not a month or two before you get your narrative right. For this new world of work that we're moving into.
Fatima: But I think it's also for your patients I was going to say, for your audience, I think this is also the time to manage the anxiety and stress with doing things for kindness. So saying, actually, you know what, I'm going to go and help my grandmother and those people and I'm going to dedicate two evenings to going and supplying some grocery for my neighbours. Diverting the attention from self and lack of self, lack of achievement, lack of this. I'm not good enough. I haven't got a job. How am I going to pay my bills, to actually doing something which they can control, which is acts of kindness. And at this point, and in England, they've got a big volunteer service signing up. So, so many people I know are signing up as volunteers to go and deliver food or help some other lady who helps someone else because they need lots of people to just help up for the people who are in isolation.
Fatima: So there are things that they can do to keep themselves occupied. And they feel like there's a sense of need for them in this world and they'll feel a lot more, slightly more content, I guess.
Renata: And more connected as well to what’s, more grounded.
Fatima: And I think going back, majority of my patients from 20 to 35 are on anxiety, I really didn't even know what anxiety, depression was at that age. That's because they haven’t got any sense of purpose. Like I had a huge connection to family community. My mom made us volunteer for free and, and give things and help people out and cook for people and cook for your neighbours and do all of this stuff and now, you know, in this materialistic world where we have to justify every single thing we're doing and we're not going to do anything on this way remunerated for it. That's not how humans thrive. You might have all the success in the world, but you will be really unhappy. And I see that all the time with people with fancy, like you know, I have, I've had a huge wealthy clientele in London and they're just missing that soul, that thing in their life, which is a purpose to really doing things to make a difference in other people's life that gives us ultimate fulfilment in life.
Renata: Oh Fatima, I'm so glad you mentioned this because I have two questions that I want to finish off, but you know, I think they are going to be, I really want to know what you have to say about these two things that have a lot to do with kindness and having purpose outside of work. One of them has to do with this situation that we find ourselves now in the middle of a covid pandemic and most of us in lockdown mode around the world, not just in Australia, but everywhere. By the time this podcast is out, this episode is out, I am assuming we will still be in that same situation. And I feel in my friend's voice, in my client's voice, the stress and anxiety that they're feeling. I also have a lot of clients that have just lost their jobs recently, immediately before the pandemic or because of the situation that we find ourselves in. And I want you to tell me if you have any advice or any kind of knowledge of what that does to your stress. I'm assuming it would be equivalent to being in a war situation, right? Where you're, its complete uncertainty and volatility and ambiguity and you're feeling threatened and stressed. What does that do to your hormones in your body?
Fatima: So, I mean, number one, it's important to reassure people that feeling anxious is a normal reaction. So it's important to acknowledge that than to numb that emotion because that shows that your body is doing its job and our body's job is to protect us. So when we are hearing that we might lose our job or we might not have a job and might in future for the next few months, not be able to get a job or pay the bills. Those thoughts create fear in our body and fear is telling our body that there is imminent danger. So the response that we get from a negative news is the same thing as running away from a tiger. So we haven't evolved evolutionary, we are still in caveman days where if I'm scared, my body thinks I'm going to get eaten by a lion. So I go into fight or flight mode, which basically means cortisol, which is a stress hormone pumped up throughout your body.
Fatima: Pupils dilated, blood pressure goes up, blood gets diverted to your muscles, away from your gut. Immune system is deprived. Digestion is again slowed down. So at the moment with the covid crisis, we're all living in fight or flight, but we're in this state constantly. So you can imagine that constant state of fear and result in anxiety is suppressing your main function further. Because of course when you're trying to run away from a tiger, you don't care about immune system. You know the aim is to survive. The aim is to run away. You're going to get bloated and indigestion because you're not worried about that. You just want to run. And save your life. And it's difficult because our mind has a habit and also is designed to do this, to have a negative bias. So when things are negative in your favour, it will pick on anything that's negative.
Fatima: So you will exaggerate the smallest negative things. So if there's no food or there's no toilet paper, people start panicking. That’s a sign that there's not enough food. And then it's like, Oh my God, we're in danger and people are stockpiling. And that's a normal reaction and we will start focusing on the doom and gloom and the catastrophe of this crisis. And the reality is if you breathe, stop, disconnect to the news, that's the first thing you need to do. Only look at the news once a day. You’re back to your basic routine of getting up in the morning, doing all the things you did. Get ready, take your shower, sitting from the laptop, start working from home. Do the things that you would do. And you watch the news once a day because you can do all the right things. But if you're watching news every hour, that is programming your brain that were in imminent danger. And that's the worst thing we can do in this crisis because we want our immune system to be stronger and immune system is most optimal when we're in a rest or repair, which is a parasympathetic which comes from when we're just completely relaxed.
Fatima: So how do we make yourself relax? Lots of mindfulness, lots of breathing exercises and also when we are doing things that again connect to us, give us purpose, give us meaning. So if there's something you enjoy dancing, putting on the music, if you like cooking, cooking, cause these are activities where your brain switches off and starts focusing on these moments because this is something you enjoy and it's a task that you have to focus on. Puzzle making. I have lots of puzzles now with my daughter. I'm planning to do a Lego is fantastic for mindfulness. All these things to try and get you to rest or pair because the reality is that we're coming to the flu season and majority of our going to, majority of us are going to get a flu like illness and which was, we'll get a mild covid like illness. How do we prepare for that and prepare for that is to be in this, in this kind of rest repair state, which is moving away from anxiety.
Fatima: So all those things that I mentioned, but again, you need to be taking your magnesium, your B complex and a vitamin C is really important in the winter season. We know vitamin C really, really helps. So 1000 milligrams a day is fantastic and if you’re finding you're getting a bit sick, you can take up to three times a day. And I've seen so many people say to me, my sore throat went after two days. But it needs to be a liposomal vitamin C, because vitamin C otherwise is water soluble and you pee it out. So that's about it. I don't know if that answered your question.
Renata: No, it does. No, I think it was very good to hear that. And it's really interesting because even though I know I can rationalise and understand that I need to manage this rationally, my body still reacts, the way that it wants to react. So I'm actually quite good at mindfulness and meditation and keeping up a routine, but I have felt really bloated recently and my diet hasn't changed and you just mentioned that and I'm like, Oh yes, that makes sense. That’s the reason why. Wow. Okay.
Fatima: It's interesting you say that. So this is where I'm going to conflict and give some conflicting advice. So I think normally I would say don't do running, but I found that I was getting, and I'm someone who's not very worried because I know we are going to get through this crisis. Nothing in life is permanent. Okay. We in a few months are going to come out back to being normal because that's the way life is, it's dynamic and we are, we have ups and downs and this is a phase that we're just slightly going and the roller coaster and plummeting down. But we're going to get back up. But it's important to have the optimistic view. But what I found myself was looking in the news because I’ve got lots of family back in the UK and getting completely overworked and I realised this isn't me and I sit on a desk most of the day and I normally do Pilates or yoga. But what I've started doing now is because my body I feel is so tense and tight. I actually started going for a bit of a run.
Renata: Yeah. Yeah. I'd feel the same. I feel the same. I need to release the energy sometimes. Yeah.
Fatima: Yeah. And so when I go for that little bit of run, I'm not going for an hour run. I'm going for 20 minutes sprint, trot and I come back. I actually feel amazing. My body feels exhausted. It feels relaxed because you're storing all that cortisol as I said to you, it all, everything gets ready to run. Yeah. So your muscles are really, really tight. So when you go for that run, you expense that energy, you feel better. And I actually am not a runner, but I'm loving my run this week. Because I find it's making me feel really calm and it gives you that serotonin rush. So serotonin is a happy hormone. So in the evening, while most people are feeling gloomy and dead and tired. I'm like, I feel relaxed in my body because I've got rid of all the stress and I feel my serotonins I'm going on a high note to bed. I follow my sleep hygiene routine and so I'm actually feeling good and sleeping better than I've ever done despite all of this going on.
Renata: Oh, I'll try that. I haven't been running but I've been walking really fast, but I really need to possibly try that. Look, I know we're going to go over time, but I want to ask you this last question because it's such a controversial question Fatima. And I wanted to get your views, from, you know, like a clinician in a medical practitioner to see if, there is any, thing we can add to this discussion. In the corporate sector, women often, discuss this a lot, and it's the fact that some women find that female bosses are not as good mentors and coaches to them as they would have hoped. And quite the contrary, they might be even hindering their careers by, creating barriers along the way for women coming up the corporate sector. And that's an ongoing discussion and there are two, two polarising views on this. Some women think that this is not going to, that that doesn't happen at all. And others that truly believe that this is part of the psychic of being a female and it's part of kind of our instincts to protect our, ourselves. And, I wanted to kind of ask you if you have a view on that or it is what it is. We will never know.
Fatima: Yeah, I think it's really important to have some compassion. I'm going to come at it from a different angle because I see these women, so these women are really struggling in the 48 plus, the ones are even ex-CEOs and executives because they're going through what they call reverse puberty. Okay. They're going through menopause, which is really, really challenging. It's not just insomnia and hot flushes. They have, every single part of their body has an impact due to the hormone transition they're going through. This has an impact on their relationships at home. So we don't know when we see someone at work, we see some executive turn up or actually we need to, we don't understand. Why don’t we try and put ourselves in their shoes. But the thing is a 35 year old cannot do that, because you don't, you cannot comprehend what they're going through.
Fatima: And if I just started seeing you, the symptoms other than hot flushes, but imagine waking up with a brain fog, you can't remember where you put your keys, you can't remember what day of the week it is. You can't focus and with all the multiple symptoms. So they, I find the women who are going through it at that age lose perspective of the people around them and how to manage them. Their ability does get affected. That's because they're going through a really difficult time. And you've got to understand if you took a, you know our senior executive team, there's only like 2 in 10 women who get to that. So I think it's exaggerated. If all the executive team was a woman, I'm sure how half of them would be great leaders if they were managing their menopausal symptoms. But what happens in the executive team at the moment is, you have 10 members of the board, two would be females or one might be female who's having hot flushes and gets bullied in the board room because you know, she can't remember her presentation.
Fatima: She's flustered, she knows she's trying to look for that USB cable and all those things. So they are going through a really difficult time. And I think that one woman not for stereotype will stay with us until we get more women in the executive position number one, to balance that one woman out. Because that one woman who's made up there, is probably not being looking after her symptoms very well, and soon she won't even make it to see it because she would have left her job. So that's my perspective on it because that one woman's is to stereotype of this monster because there's only one of them. But if you had 10 woman going through those things, we actually possibly could have a workplace which is more suitable for women going through the change and tailor make it to their needs and also make it more aware. And if we talked about it, there was no taboo about it, then we would, we would say, you know, we'd be more understanding and more compassionate.
Renata: Well that's a wonderful way to finish off. I love it. Thank you Fatima. Thank you so much for your time. And I want us to, in the episode show notes, put a link to help women find you and come to you if they need help. If they're in Melbourne, they can come to you. Right?
Fatima: Mhmm, so we, so I work at Agora centre. You can find us on Agora Centre, it's a specialist centre at Epworth hospital. We work in a multidisciplinary team. So I work with gynaecologists and other colleagues of mine, because that just makes it more convenient for patients if we need to get other kinds of advice. I've also started an Instagram account, which is quite interesting.
Renata: Oh we will definitely put the link on the episode show notes then.
Fatima: Yeah, so you can follow me on Menopausespecialist, that and with the current crisis we have got the ability to do telehealth and Medicare is now giving rebates. So a lot of people might be suffering, especially with a lot of anxiety and mood disorders. Which again, antidepressants aren't going to help and you might need some specialist hormonal advice. You can all have rebates available, as of Monday, I understand that you can do a telehealth for all of them. And at the moment, currently we're doing it for a certain select number of patients.
Renata: Wonderful. And if it's telehealth, then they can be all over Australia basically.
Fatima: Yes. And we're doing video consultations so it's not just telephone. I think initial consultation is quite nice to have a video consultation. So we're available and open for video consultation and the more important thing is, you know, they get a rebate for that for Medicare, which is really important.
Renata: Of course. Wonderful. Fatima, thank you so much for talking to me. It's been a pleasure having you.
Fatima: Thank you for having us and I hope that your audience found this useful.
Renata: Oh I have!
Fatima: And then yes, I look forward to possibly doing more of these again if there's any specific topic that you need me to talk on.
Renata: Oh, absolutely. We'll have you over again for sure. Thanks Fatima.
Fatima: Wonderful. Take care of yourself and keep safe.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
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