Why You Should #Flexmytime
Guest Blogger Claire Smith of Flex My Time shares about her experiences through becoming and mum and returning to work.
Flexmytime has the vision to support individuals and local businesses in achieving a meaningful flexible way of working that works, fulfils and engages all involved. Through this local campaign, I aim to celebrate flexible working success, and support parents on the journey back to, or reflexing their roles within the workplace.
I am Claire, I am a wife, I am a Mum and I want work………
We live in St Margarets, Twickenham which has been a great place to be at home with 3 children. During the times when I have felt unable to achieve anything much more than feeding 3 of us (the children obvs) or maybe getting dressed I love that you can leave the house and everything is so local.
Where we live I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible mums from all sorts of career backgrounds, all of whom ooze inspiration and a passion to succeed beyond the family.
Over many conversations at school drop off, children’s clubs, coffee shops or nights out, the overwhelming feeling of all these mums is that they are very motivated to return to work. The big challenge is…..either finding a flexible, challenging and rewarding job, or convince a current employer to make their role flexible to allow them to still be very much present and involved with their families. Sounding familiar?
My flexible journey
My eldest son has recently turned 10. That means it is now 10 years since I left my 55 hour a week recruitment job 😳. I loved my job back then but I’ve changed. I know the way I worked then is not compatible with my life now or my future.
I worked within the Recruitment Industry for a niche, boutique consultancy. Before leaving to have Elliott I set up the Flexible Working division — on reflection a bold move with ‘flexible working’ being very much a new concept then.
I remember how staggeringly impressive all the candidates were — all with the same goal; to have a career, whilst spending more time with their family. During the 2 years of running this division there were plenty of success stories with the Surrey business community which quickly recognised the value a motivated, professional and flexible employee brings.
Fast forward and some things have changed a lot, somethings have changed a little, and somethings still need to change…
The consultancy I worked with wasn’t able to support a more flexible position and pregnant again after 6 months I took the decision to press pause on the career button and focus my time on looking after my growing family.
During this time I regularly reflected upon my career and a part of me craved the opportunity to be involved in an exciting business again, enjoying all the challenges and achievements working brings (along with some adult conversation about things other than how hungry we are or how unfair lego can be!)
Passionate about flexible working, and now really appreciating first hand how important a flexible career is to supporting the work/family balance, I dusted off my CV and prepared myself to make the leap back into the workplace — scary!
It has now been a year since I dipped my toe back into the world of work. I’m pleased to say that I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to do some interesting projects for different companies which has really helped build my confidence. However I have also discovered many obstacles along the way — what happens when the kids are ill? How important (and expensive!!) reliable childcare is….the feeling of having to prove your flexible self in the job…. fair pay….ultimately how hard it is to get the balance right between home and work. A flexible mindset really helps — but that is easier said than done right? To achieve this you need an understanding employer, one who champions parents and flexible working.
So here you find me at the crossroads so many are familiar with. How do you maintain a meaningful and satisfying career and successfully juggle a young family? Throw in a spot of imposter syndrome from not having been in an office for nearly 10 years and the guilt associated with doing something for yourself and boom……here I am!
Whilst I passionately believe that flexible working is the future and will eventually become the norm, I am still trying to accomplish how I can make work work for me.
Which is what the flexmytime project is all about. A community to offer support to anyone who is motivated to get back to a career but on more flexible terms. My flexible journey has been mapped out by having children, but flexible working isn’t just a parent thing. A more flexible approach to work has so many benefits for all. Everyone has a life outside of work and should be able to enjoy a sport/hobby, study, care for elderly relatives or simply enjoy some ‘me’ time alongside work.
So whether you enjoy being a mum/dad to your precious little ones and feel motivated and inspired to get back to a career but not sure how, or you are in a successful role which you enjoy and feel motivated by but desire an improved flexible work/life balance, then come share my journey to flexmytime and hopefully yours too.