I'll be based at home so that makes things easier.
I guess I could ask to do earlier hours for the project stuff, but most of my contacts will be UK based so makes more sense to do 9-5. There's no business rationale for early mornings with projects, and I'm not convinced they'd accommodate the request solely because I'd like to see more of my DD.
With the operational side of things, it makes perfect sense to do early mornings to catch the Asia-Pac timezones (which is what I was doing pre-mat leave). Out of hours stuff isn't such an issue, would just mean taking a quick call or checking blackberry with the understanding that I might be at the park/out for lunch/soft play hell. And that's only to make my own life easier and to score a couple of brownie points rather than because it's expected.
The more I think about it, the more it feels like it would make sense to do projects whilst I'm part time and then operational when I'm back to full time. A lot of the project stuff is a case of setting things up which is the time-intensive bit, then it's just maintaining things, so I guess I'm a tad concerned that once that's done there might not be much else and heads are being cut left right and centre..... If I can do it this way I think it'd be win-win - I get to work on some varied stuff at a different pace whilst I'm PT, then go back to my old role and lovely team with flexi hours when I need it more when I'm FT, whilst having the chance to be acknowledged....
Sorry for the waffle, needed to write this down to think it through! Hopefully my brain will rev back into action as I get back in the swing of working
What do you want to do ultimately? Sounds like it's Projects?
I think Operational type roles are hard with very young children. You will need backup childcare in place for out of hours working I would say - do you have this reliably (don't rely on DC to be asleep). Depending on the child you have you may be tired out after spending a day with her, but then have to be on call in the evening/overnight. Obviously lots of women do this, but the Projects role will mean that you can get home and relax. Also, probably not politically correct to say this, but if baby has been up all night and you're knackered, you might be able to take an "easier" day on the Projects side - if you're dealing with Operational issues you have to be focused 100%.
Are thereopportunities within the projects role to e.g. start early (can DH drop off baby off at childcare?) or finish earlier but do some work at home in the evening (I know that's not going home and flopping but it's more "regular" timetabled work). You might also be able to negotiate a short lunch or maybe 4 days a week?
I'm slightly baffled as to why projects, if they are more flexible in general, have to be 9-5, which is fairly inflexible? My reading - which may be wrong - is that you are drawn to projects but don't want the hours they entail. Can you negotiate those hours at all, to leave your afternoons free on some days or something like that?
I suspect you'll only know which is the better option after you've taken one and lived the experience of returning to work - your response to childcare, potential sleep deprivation, your level of interest and energy for work will be quite particular for you. So, can you negotiate a trial in one with the option to switch to the other later on (or can this be imagined if you get more maternity leave?)
This is my first week back at work after a year's maternity leave and my boss has asked me what I'd like to pick up on now I'm back - projects or operational day-to-day stuff. I'm currently doing 3 days a week until May and at that point they will want me to revert to full time.
Here's the pros and cons to each.
*1) Projects* Pros - Interesting and varied, better exposure for promotion opportunities, easily done on a part-time basis as more distant deadlines, no battling with time zones. Potentially more challenging. Cons - moving away from my core role (ie the operational work) which I've been out of for a year already.
*2) Operational work* Pros - easy, familiar work, lovely team working for me, fast-ish pace. Already well-respected and established in role. Cons - not easy to do on a part-time basis (so might be "on call" on non-working days or have decisions made for me whilst I'm out). Less visibility to senior management. Less of a challenge but potentially heavier workload. Time zones to contend with (my clients are in Asia-Pac).
Come May, if I have to go full time working on Projects I would need to be 9-5, meaning I would see very little of DD in the week Doing Operational stuff I could use the time-zones to my advantage and work early mornings and finish at lunchtime meaning afternoons would be free for DD. There may be a small possibility of doing a 4 day week instead of full-time, but not counting on it.
The old (pre-mummy) me wants to grab the projects and run with the more challenging work and get stuck in. The new me hates the thought of DD being in childcare (grandparents and nursery) full time. We'd like another baby mid-2014 so this is potentially only for 18 months or so....
Do I "take it easy" and opt for Operational stuff and keep my head down and prioritise family until post-2nd mat leave and risk my career plateauing and missing promotion opportunities OR opt for Projects to try and get ahead now for the short window of opportunity I may have but miss DD in the meantime but know it'll lead to pay out in the longer term?