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To feel insulted?

(36 Posts)
Iamthecaptainnow Thu 25-Apr-19 21:10:15

I've just returned to work after maternity leave, at a relatively junior level in a professional services firm. I'm the only one in the team at my rank or below with a child. Expectations are that you will stay as long as necessary to get the job done, usually 7pm most days and then up to midnight or later at deadlines. I will now be leaving at 5pm to get LO from nursery, dinner/bath/bed, picking up again after he's asleep. Obviously this will limit my professional growth in some ways, but that's a necessity to see my child every evening and not an unreasonable choice. We're all about flexible working (supposedly), senior team seem supportive, I'm excited to be back and give it a good go.

Today a colleague at my rank suggested I could have a lower charge-out rate (wouldn't affect my salary) to encourage people to staff me on their projects, otherwise they would probably not want me due to my commitment. Even though in this hypothetical scenario, I'm still picking up later for the same 2hs of work as my team who stay til 7pm.

Colleague viewed it as positive discrimination to level the playing field. I feel insulted that now that I'm a parent, he thinks I should literally be labelled as being worth less than my colleagues. What say you, wise jury of MN?

JenniferJareau Fri 26-Apr-19 07:25:21

Problem with a company with a presenteeism culture is that however much work you do at home, some people will never acknowledge that as work. If you are not in the office, you aren't working in their mind.

NewMum19344567 Fri 26-Apr-19 07:27:24

He isn't your boss just on your level so take it with a pinch of salt.if he's your friend he's probably heard people saying you are less likely to get jobs finishing at 5 and wants to help.

The amount me and my friends talk about eachother and regarding me having a baby and being disabled at work, if I took that seriously I could say I was discriminated against all the time!

justarandomtricycle Fri 26-Apr-19 07:33:43

Are you as productive at 7-9pm at home as you would be 5-7pm in the office? This may be an unknown quantity for a start - personally I have measured this over the years and am more productive at home from 6am to 7pm then less productive after 7pm, perhaps people are assuming this of you in which case you will need to prove otherwise.

Also, meetings. Where I do consultancy work which may be similar to what you're doing in structure if not your field, it is not that uncommon for meetings, calls and oversight to happen between 4pm and 8pm, as it's often international teams or management that have to stack this stuff on top of their working day.

Is it not possible that stopping and picking up later will be seen as the inferior option genuinely? If it is seen that way, I can see you needing to prove otherwise before these assumptions dissipate, and maybe eventually falling back on child care.

Rankellior Fri 26-Apr-19 07:54:32

I’ve come back from ML twice into a PS client-facing role and initially it is a challenge to be seen on a par with your peers who don’t have to leave at 5 for nursery or walk out of a client presentation to pick up a sick kid (thankfully very understanding boss and client)
It took time for everyone to appreciate that I got the job done just as I did when I was FT and childless. However IME flexibility goes two ways so some days I skipped out at 5 and others I had to stay until 7/8/9 pm if the job demanded it. By doing that it built up trust on both sides that I could still do my job as I had before and I could get the flexibility I needed to make family life work. I totally get your point about working the same number of hours and in most instances that’s not an issue but consider how you deal with the days when as other say you have a client call at 6, or you need to engage with others on your team who have left for the day at 7 whilst you’re just logging back on.
Are there other women in your company who have managed similar transitions? Could you get their advice and then take that back to your colleague?

milienhaus Fri 26-Apr-19 08:05:06

I work in professional services - I imagine he was trying to be helpful but it sounds rude so ignore him! In my opinion charge out rates are very much a reflection of the quality of work you’d expect from someone per hour - so we get our in a rough position when we have secondees from other teams for example who don’t have experience in our area but are charged at a rate equivalent to their grade (which they earned in their own specialism) - you then don’t get the quality per hour that you would expect for that rate. You are in a completely different situation and so working at a different rate would be inappropriate. Just make sure you’re being efficient and realistic when agreeing deadlines etc and then do your thing!

BlueSkiesLies Fri 26-Apr-19 08:09:42

Are there other women in your company who have managed similar transitions? Could you get their advice and then take that back to your colleague?

Their advice would be “wait until you are a senior manager or a director. Or at least a manager” And that’s a bit late to be getting that advice!

Client facing PS when you’re a junior is all about long hours, being flexible and being there as and when your senior needs/wants. Is it right? No. But I’m not sure I’d like to be the sacrificial lamb to try make the culture change.

The Ops husband isn’t even going to be living at home during the week so she will do 100% drop offs. 200% pick ups. 100% sick days. 100% night feeds.

This situation has got ‘work yourself into an early grave or a mental breakdown’ Written all over it.

earlydoors42 Fri 26-Apr-19 08:21:58

What does "professional services" actually mean? So many people here work in it... I have no concept of what is involved

BigFatLiar Fri 26-Apr-19 08:22:03

I wouldn't worry too much, this isn't about how much work you do its about image and perception. Your not in the office so not seen to be doing things, presenteeism. Isn't even as if those in the office actually have to be doing something positive just being there is enough. I found I wasted more time in the office than when I worked from home, tea in the tea room, chats etc all adds up.

It may matter to some clients, I have worked with a client who liked bums on seats. I didn't stay with them long as the team I was with were keen on being seen and eager to get on. Being older I wasn't bothered about getting on and was actually slightly embarrassed about the quality of work that they were passing off so quickly asked to move on.

If it becomes an issue its up to your employer to manage it. I managed a small group at one stage and we had someone (male) who had a new baby and wanted to be around for her so we found projects close by for him. It limited his prospects but he was ok with that as it gave him the family life he wanted.

mollycoddle77 Fri 26-Apr-19 17:48:12

@BlueSkiesLies to say that it was a bad time for OP to have children is a bit silly really, and sounds like you think that is how things should continue to be. I don't know about being a sacrificial lamb, but I absolutely think all women should be speaking up for themselves and negotiate flexible working arrangements that work for both parties.

If anyone is interested, mother Pukka has a lot to say about this issue here https://www.motherpukka.co.uk/get-flexible-working/.

topcat2014 Fri 26-Apr-19 18:11:11

I don't quite get this "internal rate" thing.

If department A charges me 'out' at £100 per hour, and shows a big profit, what happens in department B that only charges me out to the customer at £50?

Iamthecaptainnow Fri 26-Apr-19 19:07:12

To answer a few points since I last posted:

Yes, longer term I think this is probably an unsustainable lifestyle and I will look to move into something with better hours and more interesting (to me) work. But for now, the company are keen to have me back and show it "can be done", and I want to try my best to make it happen and get promoted to Manager, with the associated boost in responsibility and salary which will enable me to leave to better roles.

Yes, timing isn't amazing- I do have a mentor, among other women I can chat to, and they all had kids at Director level and/or only took 3months ML. I have a PhD so started older than my peers and didn't want to postpone starting a family much longer.

In my case professional services means due diligences for mergers and acquisitions, and related strategy work. Writing detailed graphical reports into very niche markets and forecasting growth, to guide potential investors.

My understanding is that the internal rate is matched against the fee to give a performance marker of the partner who sold the work- if you sell a big project but run it badly (too many people, at the wrong levels, taking too long to do the work) it can end up having been "not worth it" at a firmwide level.

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