Let me tell you my career story (Well, the most recent one!)
Becoming a mum was always very important to me. I just knew these hands were made to hold and nurture a baby! The dream finally came true, but it also had me face my biggest fear: The end of my career.
The ugly truth is that working part-time still means less: less professional, less affordable, fewer opportunities. The stigma is there and it is difficult to break for many educated, experienced and amazing men and women out there. There are not enough flexible employers offering high positions for sensible pay.
While still pregnant I have made a conscious decision to request my full-time post to be changed into part-time (I couldn’t imagine sending my baby boy to the nursery, 10 hours a day, 5 days a week!). Then I looked closer into part-time reality and realised the job wouldn’t pay for part-time childcare in London anyway!
This particular struggle didn’t last too long. The first 10 months of maternity leave was amazing, baby James was super chilled and I was still coaching my clients with him sleeping in a carrier on my chest. He didn’t mind that mummy was multitasking and fulfilling her passions. However, while still in my last months of maternity leave, I was made redundant.
The sudden impact of the pandemic changed the course of my and many other careers. Wow, it still feels so bizarre to be a part of it. Perhaps, I am lucky enough to still not fully realise that I am one of the career loss sufferers. I was so lucky to be supported by my hardworking partner who always ensures we have a full fridge and roof over our heads.
Feeling embittered, I realised that choosing to become a present and involved mother has indirectly deprived me of my reasonable income, career opportunities, the vision of my future, and last but not least my self-worth.
Don’t get me wrong – I was so happy to be able to stay at home longer, as I wasn’t ready to send my 12 months old son to the nursery yet and I was overthinking it for at least 4 months prior! But I also hit some proper lows and that lasted for a few good months of the second part of 2020.
With broken vision I wasn’t able to focus and hear my own thoughts, being surrounded by screams and cries of my fantastic yet demanding now toddler. If you are a parent and anything like me you know how frustrating is not being able to use your own brain for some achievements outside parenthood (or for a peaceful wall-staring, for that matter!).
From a business owner and full-time employee to a full-time mum with not so many perspectives within seconds. Ouch!
Every change (even negative one) brings new opportunities. Sometimes it’s good to allow yourself some time to grieve, and then some more time to draft a new vision. It’s useful to free yourself from resentments, try to understand and interpret the current situation and give it your own positive narrative.
:: Make sense of the situation, take the opportunity it’s just given you, draw the new vision and design your own outcome.::
And that is exactly what I have been doing since January this year: Reactivating my business, working from home, regaining balance, having business calls and client sessions in my own time – scheduled during extra-part-time nursery hours, with a feeling of achievement and even pride that I am back to successfully juggling important matters that belong somewhere else than my household. I also know I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t made redundant. I wouldn’t willingly risk losing the steady income in order to focus on unpredictable self-employment after only just having a baby.
This story is just one out of the life-changing experiences that created my passion for supporting women facing major changes. I suppose that dealing with loss or an unknown future doesn’t really get easier, however, it does get manageable when having all those tools at hand and alive memory of your own won battles. What definitely helps me is repeating to myself: I’ve been there, I’ve managed, so I will manage again. And in today’s world, I am definitely not the only one dealing with career loss, as my story sounds so similar to other stories I have recently heard and read.
That’s why I am choosing to focus on inspiration rather than bitterness, for I already know which one pushes me forward and which covers in blankets for endless weeks.
You are not alone, we are all facing the future of new opportunities!
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