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by Louise Deverell-Smith

Let’s find a way to make work work for you

I meet so many people rethinking their careers after they’ve had kids. I think it’s because when you bring new life into the world it gives you a new perspective.  Work and it’s politics takes on a different meaning.  You have new priorities and responsibilities.  So it makes sense, that with a bit of time and distance, you might be thinking about giving your career a bit of a reboot.    

If you’re struggling to make work fit around your life, then it’s time to do something about it.  It’s time to make work work for you.  But how?  

  1. Reflect on why you want a career shake up: have you had a flexible working request denied (it happens), do you feel like you just don’t fit into the team dynamic any longer, do you want a change of scene… or is now the time to go all in and start on that path you’ve always dreamed of?  Understanding “the why” means you can focus on your next move with absolute clarity 
  1. Think about what you want.  What you really, really want: take a moment to define your values – what do you want from this change?  What’s important to you, what are the non-negotiables and what can be compromised on (if anything)? Consider all your options – from home-working to flexible or condensed hours, job shares, retraining… how can you shape your professional life around your family and feel like you’re winning?  Be really honest with yourself as this will make any decisions down the line a little easier to make  
  1. Get a support network: aside from your family, try to surround yourself with people who can help and give you practical, positive advice.  I found that I met a lot of interesting mums and dads through my children’s activities so while the kids played, I could bounce ideas off them and get tips on what to do or where to go to get the answers I needed… you just need to do a little bit of digging (and the school gate is a great place to start)
  1. Network: there are so many events out there targeted at parents keen to get back to work or start something new.  Returnships are becoming more commonplace and while they might seem daunting at first, they are a great place to meet other people in a similar situation.  There are also local organisations that can help you meet other parents or point you in the right direction if you want to retrain in your chosen field.  There are also sites like The Daisy Chain which as well as matching you to family-friendly employers, offers advice from some of the best experts around to help you develop your career even if you don’t chose to work full-time
  1. Know your worth: Be confident and trust your skillset.  Businesses are often delighted to welcome parents onto their workforce as they bring experience and knowledge that is of real benefit to everyone.  

Whatever you chose to do, make sure there is a support network of other parents who you can lean on for advice and policies in place to make the daily juggle a little easier. 

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