Inspirational Women – Naomi Jefferies

I am very pleased to bring you another interview with a person I know will inspire you! Naomi Jefferies is a psychologist currently juggling part time work with being a Mum to 4 very active little girls!. Naomi and I met a few years ago when a friend gave me a copy of her very moving book.

Jane: Naomi, how did you choose psychology as your career?
Naomi: Because I was interested in people – corny but true! I am interested in people’s stories and what makes them tick. I further specialised in occupational psychology because I feel passionately that people spend so much time at work – it needs to be a good experience for them. Work affects people’s self-concept and well being so much and psychologists can really help to optimise this experience for them, and their employers.

Jane: Do you remember what your first paid job was? How much did you earn?
Naomi: It was working in the local library on a Saturday. I was paid £4.31 for an afternoon session and £5.20 for a morning session. I loved stamping books and reading the back covers as I shelved the books. But I hated making the fresh coffee as I had no idea how to do it!

Jane: What were your career thoughts when you left school? Did you go on to further education?
Naomi: To be honest I didn’t really think beyond university in that much detail. I did a BSc in Psychology and thought about clinical psychology, but decided against it after a summer spent working in an acute psychiatric ward. I initially trained post graduation as a teacher and taught Biology and Psychology.

Jane: Did you have an actual career plan? Or did you react to events as they happened?
Naomi: I think I reacted to events and sought out opportunities wherever I was. I lived in Adelaide, Australia for a while and worked on a health education campaign and then worked in London as a trainer.

Jane: What problems and benefits have you found in combining motherhood and a career?
Naomi: Being a mother makes you super organised and able to prioritise and manage conflicting demands. It also helps you develop skills in ‘cutting through the rubbish’ to the crux of the issue and to acquire amazing negotiation skills. All key skills for the world of work!

The problems are more to do with time and being limited in terms of locality and travel. Personally I also feel guilty for either wanting to get home to the children or not being with them when at work. But I think this is part of the territory of being a mother.

Jane: What do you think is the secret of happiness?
Naomi: Being true to yourself and surrounding yourself with people you love.

Jane: How do you relax?
Naomi: I swim, run and absorb myself in good novels!

Jane: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in life?
Naomi: Two things:
1. There is nothing more important than love and those you love, and love is infinite.
2. That your intuition is there for a reason – listen to it!

Jane: Who has been the most significant and influential person in your life?
Naomi: My Mum and my Mother-in-Law; two very different, but strong, women who have taught me about values, dignity, resilience and unconditional love.

My twin sister, Rachel, Rachel Clark. I watched her battle cancer for 3 years until she died. She was an amazing woman and had been writing a book of her story- partly my story too as we had been adopted at birth – and Rachel’s illness prompted her to begin a search for our birth parents. It was a search we completed together. When she died I helped finish her book. She taught me that people have an enormous capacity to cope and support each other. It helped us both re-evaluate the important things in life. She taught me that the words ‘I love you’ say it all.

Jane: If the present Naomi could give some advice to the 18 year old Naomi what would it be?
Naomi: We are all people on a journey through life, none of us better than any others. So listen to yourself and believe in yourself and listen to others and their experiences, but remember none of us have the ‘ultimate’ answer. Take time to appreciate the moment and the people you love because none of us know the future and it can change in the blink of an eyelid!

Jane: Are there any books/sayings etc you would like to share with our readers?
Naomi: “Do not compare yourself to other people – it can make you vain and bitter”
“Death is like a ship on the ocean. When a ship goes over the horizon you can’t see it but you know it is there. When you lose
someone you love you can no longer see or touch them but the love is still there ,wherever they are”

As for books: ‘A Long Walk Home’ by Rachel Clark with Naomi Jefferies, David Pendleton and John Hasler and The Alchemist by Paublo Coelho. (Clicking the links will take you to Amazon where both books are available).

Jane: Naomi, thank you for sharing part of your story with us.

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Posted on October 28th, 2008 by

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