Does it have to be this way? Career disappearing before my eyes - PT work, post-mat leave

(9 Posts)
DotAndCarryOne Tue 29-Oct-13 15:50:55

I'm in a senior role, been back at work 3 days a week for 6 months (was FT prior to mat leave when I delivered a kick-ass, high profile project) but since returning I have been given a 'dead' project that is going nowhere, has zero chance of success and my career is festering away in front of my eyes. I've asked for more work, more challenging assignments, I've even tried killing my projects. Because of the area I'm now working, I no longer need to be in management meetings, meaning I am no longer part of key discussions. The only positive is that it's PT and an ok salary. But it's doing my career no good whatsoever.

Any tips for maintaining a 'profile' within a company despite not achieving anything notable and avoiding being sidelined as a PT worker other than stop reading MN?

damejudydench Thu 31-Oct-13 22:43:43

I've done it all, full time, part time, four days...

Unfortunately, IME it is very difficult to be taken seriously unless you are full time. I'm not saying that's right!!! I just work full time now.

DanglingChillis Thu 31-Oct-13 23:05:11

It's about more than being part time, it's about being a mother. We have several PTers at work, including a senior manager (who is a magistrate and so wouldn't ever consider himself a part timer, because he 'works' on his days off). The mothers are viewed differently from the men who choose not to work full time because they have other interests. Maybe because it's easier to be flexible if your day off is spent pottering in your shed rather than looking after a demanding toddler.

Having said that I've just returned from maternity leave (DC3), and my (fab) boss has given me a big project to work on that will give me some experience in an area I've not worked on before so I'm quite happy (I'm one of three people who returned from maternity at the same time in our department and none of us have been sidelined). That didn't happen the first time, my boss at the time moved me sideways into another department that I knew he viewed as a cul-de-sac. Luckily for me the department I'm in now has become one of the major growth areas of the company and is now responsible for some of the most interesting parts of our business. Guess who is having the last laugh.

My advice would be have a DC2 asap and then make a big song and dance about having the baby years behind you when you return after DC2.

DotAndCarryOne Mon 04-Nov-13 09:54:48

Yes, I think you are right. Not an issue FT. Or if you are male. Actually my company is pretty accepting of part time employees, but I'm the only senior employee who is part time and it seems to be very different.

Just waiting for them to justify a non-existent pay increase. Again. My pay review will go something like this...
Boss: "well, your project didn't deliver so no pay increase for you!"
Me: "The project was de-prioritised and you took most of my resource away. Given that it was impossible to deliver with those constraints, it was better to focus the remaining resource on a higher priority project"
Boss: "well, if you can deliver this next crap project we can reassess"
Me: "Why not just tie one hand behind my back and ask me to jump backwards through the Exit door." Oops. Did I say that out loud? Where's Sheryl Sandberg when you need her.

No more DCs after the hell of no 1, so I'm all clear there! smile.

Glad it's all come good for you Chillis.

Do you plan to go back full-time at some point?

Can you do some interesting things in your line of work outside your regular job? e.g. in a professional association or a well known charity or something like that

DotAndCarryOne Mon 04-Nov-13 11:07:51

Hmm, interesting thought. I barely have time to brush my teeth at the moment, let alone anything else but it's a very good idea. I'd assumed I'd end up FT at some point, but I may be better spending those 2 days doing something else.

Now you've really got me thinking...

What I'm wondering is, if you went to your work and were more explicit about your future plans -- like, I'd like to stay PT for 6 more months and then return FT -- they may make more of an effort to keep you in the loop, give you interesting work, etc. If they think you're just going to stay PT forever and maybe have another kid and then stop working entirely, they're going to prioritise other people. (I'm not saying that's right, just probably a bit inevitable.)

But, if you think you can't get back in track in your current company, then yes, be happy with the good hours and decent pay, and use those 2 days to either do something personally fulfilling, or get some good experience to help you transition into another company.

DotAndCarryOne Mon 04-Nov-13 12:30:57

OMG. You're not going to believe this.

When I came back from mat leave (and before going on mat leave), I had a conversation with my boss about how I was underpaid for my role. I'd completely given up on a response. I've just been told I have a pay rise. grin Am truly gob-smacked but forgot to ask them to back date it, damn it

But thank you dreaming, you have made me think much wider about work options. (They are aware of my plans and know that I won't be on mat leave again and am considering FT in a year or so).

Diddling around doing next-to-nothing always narrows my horizons, so wine to you all for helping me see a way forward.

Wow great news!! I'd say that's pretty hopeful then.

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