Curbing my career (for now) to improve family life(3 Posts)
Looking for people who might have been in my position and could advise. I have 3 boys (8, 5 and 2) and have worked part time throughout.
I really enjoy my job and have made progress so that I am now a director. I now work 3.5 days per week plus the occasional evening meeting or additional day and I'm lucky to be able to work from home from time to time and take out time to go to kids shows or hospital appointments etc
However I am expected to keep an eye on emails and answer calls on my day off (and catch up on work in the evening on the day I leave early to pick up boys from bus stop)
Work along with some other personal commitments are taking their toll on family life. We all have to leave the house at 7.15 and with washing, cooking meals for kids etc I don't tend to get to bed before 11.30/12 with no time for chilling out. At best I eat dinner with my other half once a week and on days when I have to work in the evenings find myself quite agitated with kids at bedtime.
In order to improve the quality of our family life I am considering asking if my hours can be reduced to two days and effectively take a demotion. If this isn't an option I am thinking about leaving to find a more contained, less pressurised (but also less challenging) job.
Have others done this too? How has it worked out for you and your family? And how did you adjust your thinking so that your value was not measured by your position at work but by what you were achieving at home? (By the way, I know I cannot be a full time mum as I need some outlet/intellectual stimulation.)
Thanks in advance
Really interested in your situation and your question about measuring your value. I would say that I measure my value by:
how much autonomy I have - what I do, when I do it, etc.
how much praise I get
how many things I get completed
I struggled with being a full time Mum in the first six months because I did so badly on all three of those. I had a tiny demanding boss, who was sometimes very hard to please and kept having to lower my expectations of what I might get done.
Then my took 6 months additional paternity leave and I started working from home again for my clients but then found I was having your experience - late nights, no down-time, stressed about our son going to sleep so I can work, etc.
We're now going through another stage of change with my partner combining part-time employment with starting some freelance work, and me trying to reduce the amount of freelance work I do.
Here's how I'm trying to make it work:
- my partner and I deliberately praise each other for being great parents - you're a good Mummy for doing xxxx - you're a good Daddy for doing xxx
- I have "office hours" when I will normally be available online and will be working (which helps manage expectations) and have a BlackBerry so I can screen emails at other times so I have less to deal with when I "go to work" and maybe respond to anything urgent sooner.
- I keep a folder of emails with nice comments from clients and achievements (have done for the last 10 years or so) which I rarely look at, but are there if I'm feeling I've not done anything much/am crap or need to update my CV
There's probably other things too.
That should be "Then my partner took 6 months"
Just a thought...but problem may not be solved by reducing to two days if they still expect you to be available for communication on your off days. It does sound like you may need to change their expectations of you outside of whatever hours you are contracted to do. This might only be solved by changing your role to one with less responsibility, or to work for them as a consultant, or work somewhere else.
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