After finishing school, I became an Enrolled Nurse and worked in major Melbourne hospitals for 14 years. Then I became pregnant and finished my working life and began to prepare for the next phase of life. After having 3 children under 4, I stayed at home and became wife and Mum. I spent 12 years experiencing highest of highs and the lowest of lows. No one ever explained to me how being a Mum can be all consuming. From when my eldest started Pre-School, I have been involved in my children’s education by being on committees. When I look back it seems that I have done everything, from gardening to being Chairperson at the primary school’s Community Council.
Once all my girls were at school, I thought that I would enjoy having some time to myself, as it happened I seem to be spending nearly as much time at school as the girls. Then the time had come for me to start looking for work. This was something that I had been dreading. My nursing registration had lapsed and because I hadn’t had paid work for so long my confidence in getting a job was very low. I was very good at playing down my abilities, but financially it was time for me to earn an income.
I started to look on websites at public service jobs and the application process eroded my confidence even more. I started to ask around at school for help from those that worked in the public service and anyone else who I thought could assist me. On a Friday after assembly I approached one of the mums and asked for her assistance in writing my resume. She asked what kind of work I wanted to do; I said I would prefer part time school hours. As it happened her husband was looking to employ someone for their small business. I left school and went straight to meet her husband, I didn’t even have time to change. I started work the following Monday.
At first I did anything from sweeping the floor to packaging, anything that was asked of me. Gradually I learned more about the business, answering phones, quoting and invoicing. As my skill base grew so did my responsibilities and I became the office manager. After four years, I decided that is was time for me to advance my career. Again I asked for assistance from anyone who I thought would be able to give me some direction. A girlfriend suggested I contact Kate, at Career Mums; this was a very positive move. Kate not only made me think about my skills, but gave me direction on how to improve them. One being enrolling in Business Administration Certificate course at CIT, which I did and this gave me immense confidence in my abilities.
Again by asking for help from anyone and everyone, I was offered a new position with a Not For Profit Company. I am now their Executive Assistant. I am doing things that I never thought I was capable of and enjoying a career like never before.
My advice to any Mum that is looking to get back into the work force is to talk to anyone and everyone because you just don’t know what is out there until you ask.
Anna is a Canberra based mum who has three daughters - now all at school