Monday, 26 November 2012

You get the job... now it’s real.

Are you ready to leave your babies?

My lovely friend Sarah is a Production Manager and with a lot of encouragement she applied for what I thought would be her dream role.  Full-time, close to home and in the same genre and role she did pre-kids. She ticked all the boxes for the role and she really is passionate about the subject, it was made for her (in my eyes).

But right from the start she questioned, did she want to do a full time job? In an industry where these roles a rare I thought it was a no brainer.  What I didn't know where her real fears about leaving her kids with another person.

Sarah was offered a second interview and she phoned asking "am I doing the right thing? I don't want to go for the interview if I don't want the job, how will it work with the kids?".  I thought it was just all those normal fears and questions that get raised when a mum leaves the nest on a more permanent base, but this is not my story.

She was offered the job and given a start date.  And then that is when it became very very real for her 'can I do this'?

 3 weeks later I got this email.

 "I have decided not to take the full time job! Just couldn't bring myself to leave the kids day in day out and have someone else look after them on a full time basis.

I wouldn't feel happy about leaving my boys all day with someone I didn't know. I wouldn't be able to do a good job as I would be worrying too much about them. 

I lost my brother at the age of 21 (I was 19). We were very close. So I am a little more paranoid  than others about the safety of my loved ones. So I have a real issue with someone else driving my kids around. 

We live one mile from a main road so driving is an integral part of my daily life.  As I was interviewing various potential au pairs I had this sinking feeling " what if" something happened to them.

Most of the girls I interviewed for the role had never driven in this country and I felt it was asking for trouble.  I'd already freaked myself out about it prior to that. I also thought that if I was honest with the employer, he may offer me ad hoc freelance work which is exactly what happened. So I'm chuffed to bits about that.

Have to mention though the copious amounts of sleepless nights and analysing with various girlfriends ……. Did my head in after a while! "

I'm thankful Sarah has let me share this journey with you, as I'm sure we all have our very own and real fears, that only we can can work out what is right for us.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Where do I sign up! Let's sing it.

Confidence booster spray tan for Jobless

Metro paper London report
When I first read this, I thought 'Oh what next?' It's great publicity for those offering the spray tan but how crazy.

Then I thought again and now I think it's a good idea,
not just for jobseekers but for anyone who has lost self-confidence.  Self-confidence relates to self-assuredness in one's personal judgement, ability and power to do something or be something.

So whatever it takes to help change someone's opinion of themselves, so be it, and if that is a spray tan, then lucky them. 

I, on the other hand, am not keen on the orange look and so why I 100% get the Gok Wan-style make over to help build lost self-confidence it is only one area that should be looked at in helping and gaining back confidence

I have written about confidence before with Fake it, the next step is to look at practical ways in getting it back and keeping it in when things are not within your control or not going the way you want them to or as fast as you would like.

Remember now is not forever, it's only the start of what is to come and there is always a song out there to help you along the way.

1. You are not alone.

I'm not about to sing you a Micheal Jackson song, but no matter where you are chances are there is someone somewhere in the world having similar thoughts, fears and doubts as you. If it helps belt out Whitney Houston's One Moment in Time.
And to quote a quote from Twitter:

2. Now is not forever.

Whatever your situation now it's NOT forever. It only takes 1 phone call, 1 interview and 1 "yes" and everything changes. 

This rather random song by Jordin Sparks may not be a chart topper but the lyrics will ring home.
3. A step back is not always backwards.
If you're returning to work after a longish break keep an open mind about your role. A step back is not always a step down and you could be simply facing the wrong way. All steps are a sign of moving and that is a good thing.  I could quote a Whitney Houston song again but now it's over to...
4. Think like an employer.

When you're away from the professional environment we get focused on us so, put yourself in the employers' seat and take steps towards being someone you would hire.  

And if you want flexible working hours, great, that is the ideal for all mums, however be sure it works for the company too and not just the school run times,   
Over to you Dolly...

5. Change your mind.
Don't worry if you start out thinking you are going to look for work as an "X" and you change your mind to "Y".  It's ok you're a girl after all and nothing is set in stone, you are not fixed as your last credit as some will try to make out. 

 Be what you want to be.

6. Today's paper is tomorrow's fish n chip wrapper.

You can always start again, no matter where you left off or how bad you thought the last job was, everyone can start over.  Just be realistic about what you can do and your skills, take a course, start reading, research, be active in learning new things.  

After all you're not getting any younger...

7. Dare to Dream.
Dare to Dream as no one can take these away from you but yourself. Life is too short and after all we girls really just want to have fun. (thanks Cyndi)


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tell me what you want what you really really want

I really really really wanna... 


What attracts your eye
I think the hardest thing about returning to work or looking for work is knowing what we really want, "what you really want'.  With confidence issues, self-doubt and skills that may need a bit of spit and polish it can be very hard to be honest to yourself and say “this is what I want’.  Lets face it you don’t want to disappoint yourself if it does not happen.

Yesterday on a course designed for people like myself returning to work in the TV industry there was no ‘how to’ or ‘this is how its done’ it simply help me work out and be honest with myself what I wanted to do 'next' and what employers would think I could do now.  Not long term but next and now.  
Yes next, more of a career audit then a step back, the trainer was amazing and very clear that careers should be seen in phases - what you do next doesn’t have to be forever.  There was so much more to it but this bit really changed me.

2011 on location
My industry has change, technology, systems, people retired, leave, have babies and I am starting again.  But this time not from scratch, after all, years of knowledge does not leave you. 

I have lots of hindsight, am very skilled, and have a strong track record So I’m great value for money for any employer if I apply for the correct roles. 

One step back is not a reflection on what I can do but a reflection on what a potential employer can see me doing now.  
 And as the saying goes one step back...

Monday, 5 November 2012

The other woman aka the nanny

Once you have decided to go back to work what do you do?  Return to what you did, try something new or take anything you can get?  
My little body guard

I'm sure its a combination of all the above but no matter what you decided there is one thing a mother must do before she can change her status from stay-at-home-mum to working professional. Entrust her beloved children to the other woman (or man), aka the nanny.
It might be a live in au pair, child-minder, nanny or even granny, but unless someone else looks after your little treasures you're not going to get very far from the home.  With no family in the UK and only one kid in school my husband and I decided a full time live in au pair was our only option.
Now it's one thing to say that you're ready to go back to work and trust the kids to another woman's care but the reality is very strange.  You are basically looking for a lady to move into your home, look after the kids, cook for them, help with school work, play with them, make them laugh and well, do all the things mummy does and then pay her for it.
Japanese lunch in Soho
Now there are some adjustments in head space and lifestyle that come with the other woman in your home and a lot come as a pleasant surprise.  It's the before kids freedom that I have gained, the last minute mid-week dinners out in London, if I'm running late it's ok, there is always milk and bread in the house and I get the best of both worlds, freedom and family.

And after all I'll always be mummy.