It’s only the F word

Now I find myself looking for a part time role, there have been times when I have felt like a little girl lost clutching a soft toy for comfort. I have changed my baby’s routine just to be able to take a pre-arranged call from a recruiter who I have exchanged perfectly pleasant emails with, only for that call never to come. I have (in my opinion) articulately described my skills, experiences and expectations to a recruiter only to then be offered a role that is akin to something that I did in the summer between finishing my A-levels and starting university with an hourly rate not much higher than my 12 year old Niece’s pocket money. I have spent precious moments during nap times composing cover letters to accompany CVs being sent to potential employers who are supposedly “very interested in what I have to offer” only to never hear back from them, presumedly because I dared to mention the f word (flexible!).

I have sent my CV to companies who call me as soon as said CV must hit their inbox treating me like their long lost best friend to quite obviously lose their interest as soon as “part time” or “flexible” enter the conversation. I have been mid-flow in conversation with a recruiter only to hear her whisper to her colleague about what to have for lunch. I have turned down a job with a company that is supposedly trying to lead the way in championing working mums, as ironically their hours weren’t flexible enough and the salary they were offering wasn’t enough to cover the childcare that I would need to meet these inflexible hours. This “working mum’s champion” also just could not buy into my results based rather than time based mentality- I knew I was fighting a losing battle when I tried for the third time to get her to see that surely it was about the new business that I brought in for her rather than the hours I was sat at my desk.

There have been times when I have started to see myself as a failure – I have found myself feeling like a little girl who is unsure of the world when I am in fact a mummy to a gorgeous little girl who deserves to have a mummy who is confident, strong willed and a believer that anything is possible. When I found out that I was having a little girl, I vowed that I would always be a positive role model to her- I promised her that I would do everything in my power to make her happy and to show her that she can do anything that she puts her mind to. I wanted her to see that I have travelled the world, studied hard at school, had a wonderful time at uni and then always tried to be the best I could at work. I have always wanted her to see me work- not over work so that she never sees me but for her to see me continuing to be successful in my career. I am not asking an employer to pay me for doing nothing- I am merely looking for an employer to buy into the idea that I CAN deliver fantastic results despite not being sat at my desk for 12 hours a day- this really can’t be too much to ask, can it?!

And so it goes, that I ashamedly look back on my pre-Lottie self and I shudder at the memory of how negative I felt towards working mums at work. And now I am one of those. And I realise, having stepped away from the business that those mums had so much to offer but I was so busy looking for the bad that the overwhelming good passed me by.

I can see that those “full time” employees that I placed so much more value on as they had “no commitments” and could without doubt give so much, really weren’t all that. I can see that it really wasn’t about the amount of hours that bums were on seats or about what time the first email of the day was sent. It wasn’t all about the suit jacket left on the back of the chair to make people believe that its owner was in the office before dawn and after midnight. It was, after all about working smart. It was about hiring the right people with the right skills and the right mind set. It was about their results and not the number of hours that they sweated in the office. And so, whilst my quest for flexible working continues, I finish this blog confident that I am doing the right thing. And whilst, the whole saga may seem sorrowful and hopeless and incredibly frustrating at times, it shows me how much I have changed, let’s hope the world of work changes soon too.

One comment on “It’s only the F word

  1. pat on

    Hi Rebecca,

    Don’t lose heart-you are making the right decisions for you. This is the most important thing. No one can ‘have it all’ and whatever all is, I don’t want it, as I have lived long enough to know that there always have to be trade offs in life-24 hours per day is never long enough-but these trade-offs must be ones that suit you & your family.

    I have been self employed, mainly working from home for 16 years now since the birth of my daughter and I don’t regret it at all. I also think my daughter has benefited from me working from home as she learnt quite a lot about business and working with people from seeing me at work in our own kitchen! Tea may well have been late on many evenings, but at least I have been here to make it.

    So keep going, you will get there…