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Having trouble finding flexible work

(16 Posts)
freneticfox Mon 21-Mar-16 13:33:03

I'm having real problems getting back into work. I left my last full-time job while I was on maternity leave after suffering horrendous pregnancy discrimination (a whole other story). Now my little boy is nearly 14 months old and I desperately want to get back into work having come out the other side of PND and a really rough first year.

DH and I live quite a distance from any immediate family, so it was quite important to us to find a childminder that would really embrace DS, and be an additional constant in his life since we don't see family very often. The childminder we chose is perfect, they treat him like an extended member of the family and he is really thriving there. The only problem is she doesn't work Thursdays, and the moment I mention to recruitment agents that there's one day a week I can't work, they immediately tell me I'm not eligible for any of the roles they have, and there's no negotiation.

I'm well qualified in my field and have more than 10 years experience with strong references, so I'm finding it really tough to have the door shut on me before I have even managed to talk to potential employers. Even when approaching companies directly, they say they'll keep me on file, but they don't really recruit non full-time roles. Of course I appreciate that jobs are advertised as full-time for a reason, that HR has to take various things to account, but there has to be some people out there with a little bit of wiggle room, surely?

I'm picking up bits of freelance work where I can, but it means I'm working every spare moment, and often very late at night to just scrape a minimal income and it's very demoralising. I really don't want to replace our childminder, but that seems to be what everyone is suggesting we do.... my side of the family in particular are stunned that I want to put the quality of childcare first. Like I said, it's just me and DH, so I wanted him to have an environment that best suited us all.

Has anyone else been in this position? How can I even begin to get back on my feet?

Housemum Mon 21-Mar-16 13:45:26

What sort of work are you looking for? Same as you did before, or just something to give you fulfilment outside the home? NHS admin jobs are not well paid (usually around £16k full time) but I love the 3 days a week that I do. I'm on a flexible shift pattern with 5 colleagues - one of the others couldn't do a particular day because of childcare but she is worked into the rota just avoiding that day. If you are looking for more skilled/lucrative work I can't help you there!

It may be that you have to take a small role to begin with to get back "out there". I did a small contract job, paid well but was only 250 hours over 6 months, after I had been out of the workplace raising children for 9 years. It showed that I still had valuable skills and was a good worker.

freneticfox Mon 21-Mar-16 13:52:43

I'm trained in marketing and copywriting, but to be honest I will consider most things (though anything too physical is out as I have mobility issues). I've applied to a few NHS admin jobs but have been rejected for not having the right experience, which is just as frustrating!

compsagnathus Mon 21-Mar-16 13:56:01

Could your DH drop a day at work and do the childcare on Thursdays? Or find alternative childcare for that one day? Or pursue FT opportunities, then negotiate condensed hours when offered the job? I totally understand about prioritising quality childcare - I would do the same.

civilfawlty Mon 21-Mar-16 13:58:23

Hey. I have started a project which makes job-sharing work. We have some really interesting clients. If you want a chat, feel free to DM me.

MrsJamin Mon 21-Mar-16 14:32:25

freneticfox, whereabouts in the country are you?

Mumchatting Mon 21-Mar-16 14:32:39

I know it's very difficult to find flexible employers.
I don't have any advise really. Just sympathy.
Keep looking for a job that suits you. If you can afford to be a sahm, then if I was you I would stay as a sahm until the right job comes up.

MrsJamin Mon 21-Mar-16 14:32:40

freneticfox, whereabouts in the country are you?

DessertOrDesert Mon 21-Mar-16 14:55:17

Sorry, its tough, but I'd say get a FT job, sort childcare, and then maybe 6 months down the line, try to reduce the days to 4.
Is the CM full on thurs, or works a 4 day week? ie might a space appear by the time you have ajob.

MrsJamin Mon 21-Mar-16 15:00:45

Sorry about the double post, my phone was having a funny 5 minutes

merlottime Mon 21-Mar-16 15:00:48

Have you registered with Capability Jane (recruitment agency). They specialise in flexible/part time roles. I don't work for them but they did once participate in a 'women returners' event my company attended.

IceMaiden73 Mon 21-Mar-16 16:12:13

Could you get a different childminder for Thursdays?

Could your OH go part time?

Figgygal Mon 21-Mar-16 16:13:57

As above different childcare provider for Thursday or even find someone else who can cover 5 days and move to them.

freneticfox Mon 21-Mar-16 16:52:52

Thank you all for the suggestions, given me a few things to think about.

Unfortunately DH can't reduce his hours at all, he's recently been promoted and now manages a team and so has to be in the office five days.

I'm really reluctant to change childcare provider, I'm so happy with our childminder and DS has such a wonderful time there it really is like an extended family which is important seeing as neither DH or I have any family close by.

Childminder is full on a Thurs, but it's definitely worth bearing in mind that a space may pop up.

MrsJamin, I'm in North Cambridgeshire

Stillunexpected Tue 22-Mar-16 16:55:27

I think your difficulty is that you say you are looking for part-time or flexible work but have no flexibility yourself around the timings i.e. you cannot do Thursdays.

When you talk about wiggle room in jobs, yes it does exist but often for existing employees who have shown their worth and are valued by the business so employers are prepared to be flexible to retain quality staff. Also, mentioning up front that you want a specific day off can be off-putting to potential employers before they have even interviewed you and seen how great you would be for their company!

Is there no way that you can arrange another CM/nursery for Thursday so you can look for full-time work, then 6 months down the line, apply for flexible working and drop the Thursday?

Oly5 Wed 23-Mar-16 10:19:53

You just need to use a different childminder or nursery on Thursdays

I can't imagine you'll find a job where you just don't work Thursdays

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