How do all you other lone parents find juggling home life/kids affects your career?(7 Posts)
In my experience, finding an employer that understands the difficult hours is as rare as finding unicorns! How does everyone else cope?...
I work for an excellent manager who is very understanding of my situation & makes emergency holiday for child sickness etc much easier, and the company as a whole is fairly flexible hours wise & working from home etc.
However I have essentially earnt trust & loyalty in my pre child world (worked for 15 yrs in same place) & I do a good job when I am there.
Career wise it's a disaster though being alone. I can't travel easily, need a new role & struggling but I don't want to lose the flexibility & goodwill & have to start again
Your manager sounds wonderful Muddling!
Yes it does feel disastrous - I have spent my whole career in mobile hairdressing... Had to give it all up a few years ago when I was left alone at 4 months pregnant and with 3 other young children. Now they are all at school I'm desperate to get back to work (preferably not in hairdressing) and I'm so disheartened at how difficult it is .
Muddling, I'm in the same position as you - I'm not in my dream job, but I've built up sufficient goodwill where I am that it's too risky to leave, lest I end up in a job where I'm tied to my desk and unable to deal with the kids when necessary.
It's really difficult as you don't really know how flexible and sympathetic an employer will be until you've actually started working for them. So OP, that's actually where you might be at an advantage in returning to work as opposed to changing jobs, since you could try something out and hand in your notice if it doesn't work out. Granted, it would be a pain, but you're actually freer than Muddling and me in a way.
Although I admit I that I'm limited in my career options because I'm a single parent, I know for a fact that i wouldn't be doing the job I'm doing if I didn't have DC to support (I would probably have joined the circus or be living in the rainforest or something...) so I don't feel that being a single parent is really holding my career back as such.
It has a hugely negative impact on my career I used to be solid and reliable and dedicated and recently I've needed time off work for various child and ex related reasons, plus I have to finish working early in order to do pick ups etc. ExH continues his career unhindered
I'm quite lucky as the roles I work in in the NHS (non-clinical, not shift work) I have been given permission to start early and leave early which is bloody fantastic. My manager is really helpful and if I have to stay in for a workman, so long as I've no meetings, I can use my work laptop.
However, I'd prefer to do contract work where I can earn more money. Here it's not that the employer won't let me be flexible, it's that I just couldn't do a job in this format because I'm a lone parent and I just couldn't do it. I can't do jobs that are more than about 10-15 miles away from me or my commute will be too long, and I can't work to a project working format which lots of people do which is they work the week away then come home at the weekend or do a job where one or more overnights are needed each week.
So in terms of being able to remain in employment and find work when I need to find my next job role, just being a single parent is very very restricting and makes my risk of being out of work far more likely.
It staggers me that in this day and age it isn't standard form to follow an Agile working format everywhere. If you can still do your job well but miss rush hour at both ends of the day and enough people are in to provide the service, why shouldn't you be able to work flexibly or work from home from time to time? Companies need to wake up and get with modern times they really do.
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