Thursday, March 21, 2013

Karen Miles, Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly, shares her story on work & family balance

 Karen Miles is the Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly, Luxury Kitchens & Bathrooms, Kitchen Yearbook, and Bathroom Yearbook. Karen shares her thoughts on juggling work and family with CareerMums. 

What do you do? Editor of a collection of interior design magazines for Universal Magazines

How old are your children? 4 and 7

What do you love about your job? The creativity of dreaming up shoots, stories and layouts, and interviewing interesting people.  I love the whole production process too, seeing our words and photography work their way through design and colour proofs to a finished product on the newsstand.  I’m also an interior design addict so it’s awesome to have a job that feeds my addiction!

Did you always have the intention of progressing your career after having your children? Yes absolutely, it just became about finding an industry, role and company that works with having children.

It takes a village to raise a family. Who helps you to manage work and family? My husband has flexibility in his company so we share the load as a team.  I also couldn’t work without my amazing father-in-law who is semi-retired and picks up the kids from school every day. 

When you come home each day, are you good at switching off from work? I don’t think the kids let you do anything else! You instantly switch into your “second job” mode because there’s always a billion things to do – dinner, bath, homework, school notes etc.

Every parent should have a selfish pursuit or ‘not-negotiable’ that provides them with an opportunity to relax and re-charge their batteries every week. What is your ‘not-negotiable’? It used to be the gym but I find that quite tricky to fit in now that I’m working full time.  Working on interior design mags I would have to say watching a design show or some other TV show like that so I can zone out and be immersed in something I love.  Otherwise retail therapy!

Have there been some difficult moments in your career with young children? What were they? So far nothing too terrible.  Just those feelings of disappointment when you can’t always be a part of every extra-curricular event like ballet class or a special assembly at school.

What advice would you give to parents who are about to return to work and resume their careers? Make sure it’s worth your time.  By that I mean find a job you love.  Because if you can’t be with your kids as much as you would personally like to, then it needs to be for a good reason or it probably won’t work for you.

What support measures should employers be offering to working parents? Flexible working hours, and the option to work from home when practical.  It’s also about an employer’s attitude too, you can have policies, but they need to be genuinely supported and valued.

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