Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The challenge of how to return

By Kate Sykes, CareerMums

Many women are opting out of the workplace prematurely because they are not exploring other options with their employer – beyond their existing role.

For example, Sarah is used to working in a senior HR management role worth over $100k. Sarah now has three children and has not been working in her role for at least 2 years. She is contemplating resigning from her role because she will need to return to close to a full time capacity. Sarah is not willing to do this because her children are aged 6, 4, and 1. Juggling a senior position, school, pre-school, childcare and living in Sydney is just too much at this stage.

Sound familiar??

It seems like a clear-cut decision but the ramifications for many women in this position means a real struggle re-entering the workplace again down the track.

So what other options are there?

At some point, we have to decide what we want from our career when the kids are young. Do you upsize, maintain, downsize, or flat-line your career? It can be confronting but you have to be practical and realistic about your situation.

In Sarah’s case, she is happy to downsize her career right now. An option for Sarah is to talk to her employer about contract work or working on specific HR projects for 1-2 days per week.

This provides Sarah with the flexibility to be with her children and keep her toe in the workplace. Her employer wins as well – they get to retain a productive, loyal and experienced employee with the possibility that they can work more hours/days down the track.

Food for thought.