Sense check(4 Posts)
Hello to everyone,
I am new to MumsNet and this is my first posting - I have been thinking about this lots and secretly seething inside. I want to air my views so and welcome the opinions of any other Mums who might be reading this.
I am a senior IT manager who has opted to work in the public sector as to date this has always had a reasonable track record on family-friendly policies and equal opportunities......or so I thought. I will give you some background....
I am in my 40s, hold a number of professional qualifications in IT and management / programme management, am qualified to MSc level in an IT discipline and have two children, 6 and 4. When I came back to work after my second child, a vacancy arose at the next level up from mine, I am a programme manager, and this would have been managing a service. I was more than ready for this and had all the right experience. When I found out who I was up against, it appeared like a no-brainer: I was the one with the most experience, the best track record at delivering and management of staff, had the most relevant qualifications and the others were all known as under-performers with quite a bit of baggage. They gave it to a man who had consistently under-performed but who had big ideas he couldn't deliver and when I asked for feedback, the IT director said "Sorry you were out of the loop too long on maternity leave." I was seething but stayed quiet as I needed a job to go back to, which I did and kept my head down.
Three years on I am still stuck at this level with no possibility of progression and I am feeling trapped; when I first came into this role 5 years ago it would have been a great stepping stone to a more senior position but with the public sector haemorrhaging staff things have flattened out. Do I give up all the flexibility and go for a higher paid job outside, to prove to myself I am worth it, or do I continue to stagnate?
To sense check my benefits here is a summary:
I earn £40K for 4 days work and have good annual leave, can work from home, can do school runs
My DH works at the same place, same salary or thereabouts, same flexibility
Am I completely mad or does anyone else empathise with how I am feeling? Please help!
You could have a 1-2-1 with your manager and ask for a development plan and goals that will help you progress. If you've got ideas about the areas you'd like to do more in, that should help give it some focus.
It's possible they will say there's not really any opportunities to give you the sort of projects that would help you like this, in which case, I'd start looking for another job - plenty of big corporates have family-friendly policies (well, the two I've worked for in IT have, which I realise is not statistically significant, but many others say they do.)
Either way, spending some time thinking about which aspects of the job you particularly want to develop (and which you're less keen on) will help you focus on what you want to achieve, so it won't be time wasted, whichever way you choose to go.
Realistically, I think you will need to trade the flexible four days/decent holidays for a better more interesting job. IME there are very few companies who will take on new staff on four days. Far easier to start full time and then try to lose the day.
In public sector, there are far more women in senior management and far more staff work flexibly. It just doesn't happen in a lot of businesses which are predominantly run by men. I worked four days a week a few years ago and spent a lot of my time deflecting a constant stream of comments about being a 'part timer'. I ended up kicking it to the kerb because I was doing a full time job in four days for 80% of the pay.
DH works in IT. A couple of women (Project Managers) who have come back part time after maternity leave are pretty much viewed as a bit of a waste of space now. I hasten to add that he too is trapped. He's paid fairly well but hasn't had a pay rise in six years and he cannot find a similar job that is paying the same level.
Sorry, I know this all sounds a bit negative! What I'm trying to say is, get out there and look for another job but be prepared to trade the flexibility you currently have. It really depends on what is more important to you. Unfortunately, the grass isn't always greener.
Why don't you start actively looking for new jobs in the private sector straight away? Maybe you'll find you're looking at jobs which are full time and have less flexibility in hours, but where the work would be more challenging and better paid. At which point you and your DH can decide which is more important to you.
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