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Enjoy a full life through flexibility

By taking advantage of McKinsey’s flexibility programs, Namiko enjoys her life to the fullest

The most valuable support I receive at McKinsey is the flexibility to enjoy a full life. I have taken full advantage of the firm’s Take Time program, which allows up to five-to-ten additional weeks of unpaid leave a year. I normally take one or two months off from my consulting role every six months to explore places I’ve always wanted to go or focus on other things that matter to me. Since joining McKinsey more than three years ago, I have spent time in Africa, Australia, and more than five islands in Okinawa. I also used a break to help my sister when she gave birth to her fourth child.

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One of the phrases I heard from a McKinsey alum that has always resonated with me is, “consultants work at the speed of a sprint for the distance of a marathon.” In a way, I love that pace and it’s worth it because McKinsey enables me to work closely with world-class leaders on the most important and pressing business topics and challenges. For example, my most challenging client work recently was when I trained ~10 buyers on a procurement cost reduction project, prepared negotiations documents and managed the role playing for negotiations training. When I am serving clients, I feel the thrill and adrenaline from a sprint race. While this is part of what excites me about my work, it can sometimes leave me feeling tired. Having the explicit support of my teams and colleagues to take additional time off to recharge helps me bring a fresh perspective and my best self when I return to client work.

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