A few weeks before I found out I was pregnant I was told I was in line for a promotion. My manager had just left, an interim in her place. I was to shadow the interim, soak in her teachings, finish my diploma and then I could take the next step in my career. I was ambitious, eager to learn, bloody good at my job and ready for the next step. Then I fell pregnant (happily so – I for some reason I feel I should add).
I was overjoyed at finding out I was pregnant. A promotion on the horizon too. Brilliant. But the promotion didn’t come. There’s was no mention of it again. The interim remained in post, to be replaced by another interim, to eventually be replaced by my male equivalent.
I returned part time after my first maternity leave. I didn’t go back after my second. Working part time, the more administrative tasks fell to me. I wasn’t nurtured to develop in the same way I was before. There was no chance of promotion or being put forward for awards. Even though I was still ambitious, eager to learn, bloody good at my job and ready for the next step.
From following the likes of Mother Pukka and Pregnant then Screwed on social media, and speaking to friends I know I’m not alone in my story. It’s unfortunately all too common.
One of my main reasons for going solo was to have the space to fulfil my potential while working around my children. This week I’ve worked two evenings, caught up on some social media work this weekend and worked two short days in the week. It’s great. I’m having meetings with clients I feel passionate about. I’m trusting my own decisions, believing in my voice, and not having to pretend I don’t have children or work full time, therefore not seeing my children as much, to achieve my ambitions.
More and more of my peers are burning out, questioning what it’s all for and seeing male counterparts climb that ladder faster. And more of my female friends are stepping into the world of self employment because it’s the only real option if they want the flexibility required when you have children and they’re fed up of that door being slammed in their face.
I get this is not just a female issue but one I see more prevalent in my female peers. As flexible working becomes more the norm I hope it will give Mother’s and Father’s the freedom to make work work for both parents. I also hope that working part time isn’t seen as a stepping off the career ladder.