Tips to help motivate you to return to work after becoming a mum or being on maternity.

Returning to work after maternity or being a full-time mum is an area, I have helped many women with, and I still often get asked where I start and what I can do.

The aim of this blog post is help you get some essential tips on what you can consider but also look at flexible working options especially if you are a new mum or still want to spend time with your children around your work.

Have a Skills Based CV

Base your CV on the skills you already have. Focus on the key skills you have and not necessarily your current experience. Especially if you have been on maternity or had a career gap. Many of the women I talk to worry about their career gaps. When you send out your CV make sure it highlights your skills so you have so you can make yourself marketable especially if you are struggling to be called for interviews and get the right jobs. To find out more about CVs and different formats please see post I wrote here

Flexible hours

Ask your employer about flexible hours. When you go for an interview ask if there are flexible working hours so that you can fit your job around being a mum or have an option to work from home on certain days. It’s better to know what your work options are as mum before you are offered a job. This way you can have a realistic outcome to your job-hunting journey. Look at businesses that have flexible work opportunities and help working mums. Talented Ladies club have a lot of really great information that can help you further with visit their site here.

Use your network

Look at the network you already have and ask around to see if they have flexible work opportunities you can apply for. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Ask family friends and people, you have previously worked with or are in your industry. If you need to broaden your network join Facebook groups, LinkedIn etc.  Please listen to an episode I did around why you should update your LinkedIn profile which could help you further with this here

It may seem difficult at first but if you this can be something that can really help. I have landed roles through contacts previously as have my clients. Also consider looking at in person networking opportunities like going to job fairs like the MumsNet event work fest even or joining groups on Meetup which will connect you with the right opportunities.

Childcare arrangements

Do you have arrangements in place to help around your working hours? This is an important point to consider because if you need to find a childminder you need to make sure you do this. If you have family near by who can look after or pick up your children from nursery or school this will make you available to jobs where you may need to work longer hours, or can’t necessarily do the school run yourself. I had a client I worked with once who had an amazing work opportunity but her office and child’s school were a too far away and she didn’t have any childcare in place. So, it’s important to consider this. As you need to be realistic about your working life and personal life and merge this in a way that suits your lifestyle.

Working for yourself

Take the time to think about going freelance or starting a business and don’t dismiss it. Especially if you are looking for flexible hours. If you feel you can’t quite return to a full-time job just yet working freelance or starting a business may be an excellent option for you. Platforms like digital mums help train mums up to have a career as a VA or work in social media and the digital world. If you already have a skill like accountancy etc maybe consider working as a freelancer or consider doing short contract roles. If you feel time is a bug bear think about hiring people to help you balance your home life cleaner, VA etc. I also give further tips around helping mums in the podcast episode “tips around restarting your career” to listen please go here

It’s also important to understand your maternity rights as a working mum see this blog post from bright HR that may give you some further insight into this https://www.brighthr.com/articles/leave-and-absence/maternity-leave/

If you want to return to work after becoming a mum you can and it’s about deciding what works for you and how you want to work. It may take a period of adjustment but I hope you take on board some of the tips shared in this post.

If you would like further support and accountability, please book a call with me here to discuss working together.

 

 

What can I do if I can’t currently quit a job, I am unhappy in?

I often get asked this question quite a lot and it’s something I know many of you struggle with. One of the reasons why this is this is a common one is firstly it's a mindset piece. There are a lot of reasons and fears why people feel they can’t leave a job.

We all need finances

Financially, we all need money. Money is important to help us pay for the things we need including food, bills, rent, mortgage etc. Sometimes we don't look at how we can save money for a short period of time, before we have found another job. Or we put so much pressure on ourselves, that we end up staying in a job, longer than we need to.

What is the mindset behind why you can't quit? If you are the only parent, or the only person who is bringing in a stable income that allows you to pay rent pay for your mortgage pay for your bills, then, obviously it’s going to be trickier for you to leave a job that you're currently not happy with.

Have a financial plan

What I will say is it’s very important that you address if you can't leave that job that you think about having a financial plan. What I mean by that is writing down a list of everything that you pay for this includes paying for your bills, paying for food month to month. If you have children, your children's clothing, equipment etc. Or you have to pay for any other things that you like gym membership, beauty treatments etc. List everything down on a piece of paper and take some time to do this. Then have a rough estimate of how much financially you need in order to survive month to month week to week, then look at how much of that money is going towards each expense. See how much you have left over, if any and think about where you could save money. For example, Gym membership or unnecessary expenses like extra clothes or eating out etc just temporally so you have some savings.  This way you have something you can live off so you can slow build an exit strategy.

Exit Strategy

This exit strategy could be that you need to look for another job that is going to pay you what you're worth. If you want to read more about how you can do this please go back to the blog post I wrote, where I gave some tips and advice around what you can do to be paid what you're worth especially if you've not been promoted or had a pay rise within your company and you've been in your company for a while and you're not being valued for the work you do. Please go to this blog post here http://www.thecareerhappinessmentor.com/blog/2018/9/5/how-can-i-find-a-job-and-career-that-pays-me-what-i-truly-want

Make sure that you have an exit strategy I hear from a lot of women I talk to who feel they don't have any other choice. They may feel very overwhelmed and in a lot,  cases feel it’s not an option. This is where I want to say to you if that really is you, I firstly I just want to say, I understand the frustration with me saying have an exit strategy plan. I'm not saying to quit your job right now, quit your job in another four to six months, possibly, six months maximum. The longer you leave quitting your job, the harder it's going to be for you to leave. Most jobs require you to have a two to three month notice period so you also need to take this into account and think about ways you can start earning money if you plan effectively.  

Building your future

Bearing in mind if you have up to a maximum of five to six months to find a new job, you need to look for a new job at least every week. Spending at least three to four hours every week doing this will help increase your chances. If you have children, I know that may not be ideal because there's lots of things that you've got to do. This is where you may need to ask for support from other people. Maybe ask family or friends if you are alone or support from a partner if you get it or ex-partner etc. If the weekends are only time that you have. Perhaps spend an hour where you're applying for jobs, and you are on LinkedIn, and you're doing things that help you get to where you want to be.

This situation won’t last forever

When you're in a job, or when you're in a work environment you aren’t in this situation forever. No situation is ever permanent. Think about if you have to make some sacrifices right now how can this help you in the future?

In the same way, if you keep on thinking a situation is not going to change, this is where you need to take some affirmative action, and that doesn't just mean having an exit strategy. It means thinking about all the options on the table. So that could be some form of mentoring some form of counselling etc.

So not necessarily just asking for support with children if you have them. If you're a single parent asking for support for yourself because one of the main reasons why you haven't been able to leave your job is because there may be a lot of shame around leaving your job.

Scared of what other people will think?

Quitting your job is not as shameful is what you think. In fact, statistics now suggest a lot people do leave their jobs. Make sure you get your paid leave you get all of those things you need in order to enter into a new job. Money and finance is a necessity, I do understand that, but make sure you get extra support especially if you're being bullied at work, or you're dealing with a difficult company or maybe you have gone through something difficult within the workplace where you might need to ask for a lawyer’s support or someone else's support.

Ask for support

Ask for extra support, if you need it. And when I mean support I'm not just talking about your family and friends to help the children or help with extra things. One of the other reasons why people can't quit their job is because perhaps they're  financial situation may not be great or they have debts or in credit. Talk to somebody who's going to be able to help you be more financially savvy because if you're not quitting your job, just because of monetary reasons then you can turn this around.

Trust me, there's always a way around that and I think it's very important that people don't leave their job because money is holding them back.  I know for a lot of women I speak to are quite proud and have very good jobs and very good positions.  You need to be more financially savvy in general, and if you have debts build solutions to help pay them off. if I can be quite frank is you just need to think about where you get help? Do you need financial help? Do I need to career counselling, do I need just therapy etc

One of the reasons why you could feel conflicted in your current job is because maybe you're an abusive relationship so you're a single mom now, or maybe you've recently lost your partner to cancer Or maybe it could be that you've recently been diagnosed with an illness. because of that illness you know that if you take sick leave you're going to get, you know, a pay cut. There's always extra support that you can ask for but it needs to be support that is in alignment with you as an individual and your needs because there's no point staying in a job for the wrong reasons. Being in a career or job just for money it's very soul destroying.

Finding solutions to help you

There are ways that you can save money and there are ways that you can be clever around your finances, whilst also reinvesting that money, and this is where people need to educate themselves and also get support. So I really hope this blog post has helped, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't think that you can't quit your job, you can leave a job and get another job within six months but you need to have a plan. Have a exit strategy. get emotional support from as many people as possible, and in some cases financial support for a lot of the people will be reading this blog post so I really hope this helps you make a decision based on hope that fear.