Have you had to sacrifice your career (and accordingly wage) in order to work flexibly?

(100 Posts)
Wytchhazel1 Mon 21-Jul-08 17:43:08

Many of my mum mates and i are looking to go back to work because we need the money, but most haven't been able to get jobs at the same level/pay scale that are part time.Personally i have taken a 40% pro rata pay drop and had to ditch my career in order to be able to work part time. Is this a waste of 9 years of my working life and a waste for the job market too? Does having a baby send you immediately to the bottom of the job pile if you can't go back to your old employer?

wasabipeanut Tue 22-Jul-08 21:34:15

I was very lucky actually and managed to blag going from a full time sales role to a part time marketing position 3 days a week which I enjoy more than my old job.

Am aware this is the exception rather than the rule and am incredibly grateful that I managed to persuade my employer to take a chance.

WideWebWitch Thu 24-Jul-08 09:19:44

that's discriminatory imo PerkinW.

motherinferior Thu 24-Jul-08 18:53:24

I work in a field - I'm a journalist - where I can work flexibly, and earn a living; but some of the full-time inhouse options are definitely off the cards for me.

I also disagree that 'experienced part-time women are pretty much running the charity sector'. ippr and Anti-Slavery are both run by jobsharing women, but I cannot think of a single other major third sector organisation which is.

Miggsie Thu 24-Jul-08 19:13:18

I have part time hours but not a part time work load...ho hum

Career progression, no, I don't want it, I'd have to work more hours...or take more pressure, and go to lots of meetings. I don't want to do that so yes, my career has stopped, but at least I can work in flexible hours.

Evelynsmum Thu 24-Jul-08 21:07:42

Hmm...not so much scarificed as compromised...not in line for promotion now and certainly a bit sidelined BUT my company have surprised me in that:
a) They agreed to my request to work part time.
b) I have some interesting cases / responsibility.
c) I've been supported in requests for training.
Overall not unhappy with my life and wouldn't miss the opportunity to spend time with my lovely DD. Will be very interesting to see how this goes over the next few years...

mumtoone Thu 24-Jul-08 21:09:49

I am contracted to work 4 days a week but in reality I work full time hours over 4 days for part time pay! My career hasn't been damaged too much so far but I'm about to hit a cross roads where I think I'm going to have to choose between working part time and progressing in my career. With two young children part time work is my current priority.

ByTheSea Thu 24-Jul-08 21:11:43

I used to work in the City but had a long commute and missed the DC. These days, I work in a local nursery. For an hour's work, I make about a 10th of what I used to, but I have the flexibility of only working part time during school hours. Our standard of living sure has changed.

madmarriedNika Thu 31-Jul-08 15:56:19

Couldn't do my old job flexibly- although did try part-time for a while (but it was like trying to do full-time work in fewer hours- plus still needed to go away for 3+ days at a time which just wasn't working for the rest of our family). So I quit, set up as a self-employed consultant doing minimal hours why my DCs are pre-school age, and also trying to finish my part-time PhD which I've been doing forever.

I miss my old job but don't miss the horrendous juggling act that went with it, and felt I was missing out on the DCs too much also. Plus my DH's new job demanded long hours so logistically it was impossible for both to hold down demanding full-time jobs which often involved overtime and look after the DCs (couldn't afford & didn't want paid help in the house- DS was at nursery but that didn't help of course out of normal working hrs).

I hope when the DCs are a lot older to try to break back into my old field properly...hence why still doing a PhD...

Now I love spending lots of time with the DCs... (but hate the lack of sleep from trying to work most evenings...)

madmarriedNika Thu 31-Jul-08 15:58:37

Meant to add as I hardly earn anything these days and DH doesn't earn buckets we consequently live in a pretty small house (at least compared to friends who have 2 DCs). But we aren't fretting about finances and have no debts. It's a compromise for the moment we're happy with.

Soapbox Thu 31-Jul-08 16:06:07

I have managed to keep my career moving in the right direction, albeit promos happened at a slightly slower pace than they might have done had I not had children.

I have worked various combinations of partime/fulltime/not at all over the last 10years when my eldest DC was born.

It has been a struggle at time, but that is not unusual for people who want to make it through to senior roles in the environment I work in.

I have found that it has been most successful when the balance feels right to both employer and employee. Flexible working works best when it is flexible on both parties part. That means that as well as me having the flexibility to take an afternoon out of the office for sports day, I also am flexible when there is an important meeting on a day when I wouldn't work Also that I do my fair share of the evening functions and travel too.

So in summary, it hasn't been easy but neither has it been impossible. It has felt easier when I have had a good balance between home and work, with flexibility on all parties part.

theyoungvisiter Thu 31-Jul-08 16:11:01

Yes, to a certain extent. I was on course for a promotion to the next job up and in fact was offered it while I was pregnant with my first baby, but I refused it because I knew they wouldn't let me go part-time in that post.

I later came back, went part time in my current post and have been doing this pro-rata very successfully since with several bonuses, but there's no chance for me to move up the ladder while I still want to work part time - they just won't consider employing a part-timer in a more senior position.

Feel a bit frustrated about it, but I know that I can reverse the situation at any point by going back to full-time, so it's just a question of when/if I want to do this.

PrimulaVeris Thu 31-Jul-08 16:11:39

I went p/t 7 years ago and ended up being moved from an interesting managerial role to a more administrative one.

I don't regret going p/t, I've had to accept that my prospects are now very limited and try to focus on all the advantages of this way of working. However, there are times when I feel totally passed over and pissed off and I've been out of my 'old' role for too long now to go back to it.

However, I notice that far more women are more successful at retaining their role when going part time - if I took the decision today (not 7 years ago) to go p/t I think things would be different.

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 31-Jul-08 16:19:32

me too - used to have interesting and reasonably lucrative freelance career - worked all hours

now have term time only school-hour only admin job

in theory could re-start my freelance job once dd is older but in reality will have lost touch/lost contacts/lost skill

shouldn't complain because I know I'm lucky but get occasional deep pang of envy when dh blithely leaves house for yet another conference or trip abroad ....

LivingLaVidaLurker2 Thu 31-Jul-08 16:26:07

I used to work full-time, then had dd and returned to a similar role two days a week. Then a management position became vacant (that had previously been full-time) and I was actually promoted and did the role as a combination of part-time and home work.

I feel very lucky though as most of my friends who return from maternity leave seem to suffer from demotion or are sidelined, even if their flexible working request is supposedly 'approved'. I think my experience was positively affected by the fact I worked in HR and in the public sector.

CeciC Tue 19-Aug-08 21:08:53

I have always worked f/t after DD2 were born, but afer DD2 I have been working f/t but starting early so I could pick up DD1 from school. It has been working very well, but now, I could be promoted to a managerial post, but I have to work full timehmm. I thought that I was working f/t. hmm. My boss now has to decide if she is happy with 3 days "normal hours" and 2 days early. Somehow, I don't think she will be happy, and I will stay in the same job that I have done for the last 10 years.

fullmoonfiend Tue 19-Aug-08 21:12:19

yes, deadlines and nurseries really didn't mix, I found....''lads, the printer's gone down, we're here til 9pm at least!''

And freelancing was too precarious in the north.

I had 5 years' out, bY which time I was unemployable (virtually) in my old field. I am now in a low-pay role working for a charity, which is, at least, highly flexible (and rewarding.)

mummy31 Wed 20-Aug-08 21:50:25

Why oh why must i work full time in a low paid job, had to leave a retail management job i loved as required weekend working - after having D this just not possible. I now feel stuck in a rut, as not qualified to get another mon-fri 9-5 or a school friendly hours job with a decent wage, as D starts school next year!!
any suggestions on which jobs i could go for would be really appreciated - know i need to think outside the box but am feeling really down about the whole situation - any happy stories to motivate would be most grateful.
if i was to ask for a part time position where i work - would seriously be shunned {had a disciplinary for being off odd days here and there with my daughter - cant go nursery with poos etc - about 8 days over 9 months.....Family friendly business - NOT!!!

chelsygirl Wed 20-Aug-08 21:52:43

when I asked in my retail job for term time only or at least flexible working I was laughed at shock and this from 2 women with kids themselves

know where your coming from OP

BrownSuga Wed 20-Aug-08 22:04:11

I'm not bothered about a career, and only wanted an interesting job that paid well. Fortunately I must have made a good impression with my last employer as they agreed to a 3 day work week as an expat. Which is quite frankly unheard of. I start back in 2 weeks, and already there are rumblings of, is it 5 days, or STILL 3 days, so I will have to see how it goes. A payrise every year is all I'm interested in, and they're pretty much automatic with this place.

The employer I left during maternity leave, did make noises about part time work also, and had a marketing manager who worked 4 days per week. It could depend on your industry and how desperate they are for people. Engineering and construction are very desperate so it has, so far, worked out well. They also employed DH. Thankfully he's in a different office so we will have different gossip to share over dinner grin

Mammaismia Wed 20-Aug-08 22:08:04

yes was studying for my degree pre dc's.
Now have degree but only doing 3 days in a mentor role.
Not sure if i can feasibly return to that post dc 3 mat leave!

whatironing Thu 09-Oct-08 13:51:37

I would have been a partner in a big firm now if I had agreed to go back 4 days a week. I work 2.5 days a week and have been told I can't progress unless I work 4 days. Nobody is that bothered about what I do now they just want to keep me on with the hope that I will one day go back full time.

Piccalilli2 Thu 09-Oct-08 14:05:12

I switched to a different role to go part-time (4 days a week) - I'll never be a partner and my salary's about two-thirds of what it was but I was stressed and unhappy in my old role anyway and I have retained a career with options for the future so actually I think I'm one of the lucky ones.

runningllama Mon 13-Oct-08 11:36:47

I had a 3 year break from work following the arrival of ds. I now work part time but had difficulty getting back into work as I was 'over qualified' for the low paid and low skilled jobs that were available with part time hours. I've now had a 2nd child and can only work when dh is home to look after children, i.e evenings and weekends, as my low pay would only just cover the costs of childcare and not leave me with anything. As a result we have very little family time together. I also have no prospect of any promotion or career progression as this is not offered to 'part timers' by my employer. This seems such a waste of my skills and experience, not only for me but also for my employer.

Yes.
My career has stalled since I went part time and I work for adult (social) services so the lack of real equal opportunity is even more shocking for the rhetoric in the council's equal opportunity policies about "welcoming job shares and flexible working". Whilst yes, I do have flexible hours (I work part time at 3 days a week and can start half hour later in the morning than usual so I can at least do the school run in the morning which helps me as, it reduces the volume of childcare I need to arrange). However whilst my dept do support flexible / part time workers, they just dont like to promote us.

I have been offered promotion twice in the last 4 years after being successful in interview with the offer explicit on the condition that I go full time, despite my being clear during the process that I was applying as a jobshare part time worker as detailed in the (promotion) job advert.

It seems strange that I have been doing the very same (management) job in a "temporary capacity" for 3 and a half years in total periods over the last 6 years as the Acting deputy manager, in between gaps of them finding the eventual full time candidates appointed & their coming and goings. During these periods the team and dept coped very well with me being part time in this role as I pretty much covered most of the full time work in my part time hours. My new team manager and team all say I am ideal for the post (that a the eventual full time worker who doesnt require flexible hours is appointed to each time) and want me to do it - several of the women in my team have got cross on my behalf, whilst I remain philosophical each time (never hopeful that the world will suddenly become equal). I recognize that none of the managers want to stick their head out and risk losing precious full time post funding, whilst looking for another part time worker to job share with me if they appoint me (if one doesnt present straight away), so in practice they wont employ me permanently in a management position whilst I work part time. A previous manager told me he felt I was just too highly skilled to be matched with another job share as "there arent many part timers with your (my) level of experience" (I disgree as he never seemed to even properly look! Can he not see how many mums work?? And he never once advertised the post explicitly as part time to encourage other part timers to step forward), so they would rather just have a full timer, even if less experienced and capable, as they "can always ask you (me!) for advice if they get stuck".

I always thought if I was fantastic at my job I would naturally get recognition for this, and I cant help but work incredibly hard from the moment I arrive, until the second I leave the office. I have an exemplary record and am highly respected at work. I rarely have time off. In case anyone wonders, I will not pursue a discrimintation claim although I accept I could, as even without promotion I love my job and I work for a monopoly employer (a county council). But it tells a sad story that mums still have to choose between their career and children even if you do set everything up so that you are juggling both well, it is a huge struggle to get over other peoples' perceptions.

PerkinWarbeck Sun 16-Nov-08 20:55:13

whereismumhiding - I have had a similar experience. I am a mental health social worker (asw), and ideally need to undertake a practice teaching course in order to progress to management. My employers will not offer this to a part-time employee, so my career has stalled professionally and financially for the next five years.

I have recently moved 200 miles, and so have had to search for a new job. Whilst many social workers I know have dropped down from full-time to part-time hours (as I did in my last role), I have found it incredibly hard to part-time work from the outset in a new position. It seems as though one has to prove oneself before being considered for part-time/jobshare.

The social work workforce is 80% female.

Social work management is 80% male hmm.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now