Has pregnancy made you rethink your career? I was speaking to a journalist from a national baby magazine about this yesterday. She asked me about the numbers of mums who were looking at changing career post baby, and I said that the majority of women who have a serious rethink … even if many decide that going back to work is the only option available due to contracts or financial commitments.
A NCT survey which we reported on at the end of last year showed going back to work after maternity leave was “a hugely daunting and difficult experience for many mothers”. One in three women (39 per cent) said they found going back to work after having a baby ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’, and 31 per cent said that their relationship with their boss had deteriorated since they had become pregnant. Despite a host of legislation and HR policies aimed at successfully welcoming mothers back into the workplace, many say they’re still not receiving the support they need.
So, if you’re pregnant or on maternity leave, now is the time to think out your ‘back to work’ options. Here are some tips
- Work out how much time you have available until the baby is due using a pregnancy calculator, or calculate how much is left of your maternity leave. This will help you know how long you have to sort out your options.
- Check your contract or speak to HR to find out about whether you have to repay any discretionary maternity pay if you quit.
- Spend some time drawing up a vision of what you’d like to do once the baby is here. Stick pictures on a vision board or write a description of how you would like your work and life to balance.
- If you want to return to work but would like more flexible hours, start listing how this might benefit the business. As a parent you have the right to ask for flexible hours, but you will need to persuade your employer that it makes business sense.
- If you want to make a change, work on your new budget. Remember that you will save on clothes, travel, lunches and childcare if you don’t return to work.
- If you clearly want to change careers, start researching whether you need to retrain. Find out about courses available and see if there is affordable childcare – or look for online and distance learning options, evening and weekend courses.
- If you want to run your own business search for your local enterprise agency. Ask if they run free start up courses, as this is a great first step to help you create a plan for a new business.
Browse through www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk for lots more ideas and inspiration.