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A Tale Of Two…

Part time working professional

Once upon a time, I was a full time working professional. As company accountant, I loved my job. I loved the business I worked for. My job really did define who I was. Whenever I met new people, conversation would always have the same starting point. “What’s your name?” and “what do you do for a living?” were always the openers.

Then my life changed about a bit. I had dependants – young and old. I was needed, me personally. This couldn’t be delegated or outsourced to anyone else. Perhaps it wasn’t that it couldn’t be, perhaps it was more that it wouldn’t be. Either way, I could no longer do it all.
And so I became a part time working professional.

Then began the search, the CV updating, the networking, the marketing of myself. It soon became very clear that there are really not many part time, senior, challenging, exciting jobs. In the finance world, I could easily find part time work in very junior positions. I would not be using my years of experience and skills, I would not be stretched, I would likely be very bored.

So why was it so hard? Shouldn’t I by treated the same as a full time worker? Shouldn’t I be judged on my CV, my skills and experience regardless? Shouldn’t I be treated in the manner with which I had been treated previously, I was after all the same person?

I could answer these questions myself quite easily – the answer was a resounding NO.

I’m not the same person. It’s that simple. I used to be able to put in 60 hour weeks quite easily. I used to be the dependable one that would always be there in a crisis. I’d always be the one to work early mornings and late nights when it was needed. I cannot do that now.
So in some ways, I’m not as good as I once was. That’s the harsh reality.

But in so many other ways – I am better.

I manage my time better. I might not be in the office full time, but trust me, I have a LOT on my to do list. Some of it work related, some of it not. But nonetheless, I get a lot done in my week. Being in the office part time puts an extra focus on getting things done. More gets done ‘today’ because I can’t guarantee having the time to dedicate to it tomorrow. I am better than I once was.

I can multi task better than I ever thought possible. Juggling a job and a family is pretty commonplace. There are many people out there who do it. But it will never appear on a CV as a skill. I can switch so quickly to the most urgent crisis (whether it’s a financing proposal or a desperate need to provide something for the school cake sale!) and I’ll switch back the second I can. I am better than I once was.

I’m a much more compassionate person these days, caring for a family does that to you! I have more empathy for others than I once had. I don’t think I realised how useful a skill this would be in the workplace. I am better than I once was.

I always said that I loved my job – I always believed that. But now that I do other stuff in between, I really love my job. Those few days of absence makes it all the better to get back to. That extra bit of happiness makes me extra productive. I am better than I once was.

I’m lucky to have the job I have. As I ‘ve said, those exciting, challenging, skills enhancing jobs are few and far between in the part time arena.

I know I’m incredibly fortunate, I know I work for an amazing business with an amazing team of people. I’m grateful and that gives me the motivation to go the extra mile. I am better than I once was.

So in some ways, I’m not what an employer wants – I’m not there 5 days a week. But I’m available 5 days a week (or 6 or 7). Today’s technology makes it even easier to be away from the office. Telephone calls and emails still happen on non-working days as sometimes, you just want to resolve something. Being part time doesn’t have to stop that.

I’m still a professional, I still work hard, I still develop my skills and learn new ones. I still love my job and care about the business I work for. I’m still flexible, I switch my working days here and there, I accommodate meetings to ease others’ diaries. I just cannot be flexible enough to give all my time.

I accept that some businesses will only want employees who are in the office every day – always there, on call for any emergency. But I hope there are still plenty of other businesses who realise that us part time workers can still add value.

Being part time is different. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse – just different.

Sarah Hawthorne ACMA
Financial Controller – Wagstaff Recruitment
Mom to Alice aged 6
Daughter to “Mum and Boss” aged 76
Wife to Simon aged 49 ¾

From the other side of the fence

Wagstaff Recruitment started as a bedroom business. As the owner I drove business through sales and cajoled my husband to do my monthly management accounts on a weekend. Hubby was great, he is an experienced Finance Director, but I became spoilt with his extensive knowledge and skills.

As the company grew, I took on offices and developed a team I knew I needed my own Finance Manager and here lay the problem. Due to hubby’s skill, my expectation of what a Finance Manager could do was unachievable on a part time basis, or so I was told (by external applicants). I wanted someone who could be part of our leadership team. Someone who had great management accounts skills. Someone who was confident to upwardly manage and challenge me. Basically I wanted a high level Finance Manager on a part time basis for an SME and they did not exist. Well they do!!

Then, through a fellow finance recruiter, I was introduced to Sarah! I gained an experienced, skilled professional who has the talent to utilise her skills. Sarah manages her time so well, delegating to our admin support team where needed and delivering a valuable, high quality finance service. I get great finance and management support and it is on a part time basis. The truth is hiring this talent is achievable it just may not be in the convectional way you expect. (I also don’t feel Sarah is part time as she is so flexible and there for me if I really do need her).

I would applaud any business to really consider part-time experienced workers. Finance, Marketing, Engineering, the list can go on! The experience and skill they bring, in my experience, is certainly added value.

Ruth Forster
Founding Director – Wagstaff Recruitment
Mum to Lexi (Our dog! No little people!)

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Meet Chris: A working Dad at Hastings Direct

My family and I relocated to the south coast four years ago and I was looking for a new career away from retail. I was originally attracted to join Hastings Direct because I knew that insurance was a growing industry and the company had a range of opportunities for colleagues to develop. Since then, I have seen Hastings Direct expand to further offices including a city centre office in Leicester.

In September 2016 I moved from full time to part time shifts to offer my family extra childcare support. I have progressed to a Digital Customer Representative and when I work evenings I’m a coach for new colleagues in Academy. Working part time at Hastings Direct has allowed me and my wife to have our own careers. The flexibility in my work enables me to arrange a shift plan that suits my home life and gives me a great work life balance. It allows my wife and I to share the responsibilities of childcare while bringing money into the household and giving us quality family time at the weekends.

My wife and I both enjoy working and appreciate the time we have to socialise with other adults. I love the variety of work and the diversity of people I work with at Hastings Direct. I enjoy working in our Head Office because the majority of departments are here in Bexhill – it’s very easy to find a colleague from another area of the business to help with a query. Everybody in the company is keen to help and I love that we’re all moving in the same direction.

Hastings Direct has been very supportive since day one, particularly my Team Leader who is invested and knows my motivations inside and outside of the company. Hastings Direct cares about its colleagues and takes notice in what is happening in our lives.

If you like what you have heard and would be interested in finding our more, please visit Hastings Direct Careers.

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Mums in Tech! Making it work for you…

Woman flexing arm. Flexible Careers

Research released in December 2017 found that the number of women working in technology has barely increased in a decade.

Search Consultancy found that the percentage of female tech workers increased by a paltry 1.8 per cent since 2007 – with just 15.4 per cent of the nation’s technology workforce being women.

This news is disappointing on many levels, not least because technology provides some of the very best opportunities for flexible working and working from home – the holy grail for many mums.

Remote working is possible now in so many industries, from engineering to customer service, that work no longer means a nine-to-five day in the office. Additionally, many of the roles created by technology, such as web development or social media marketing, can be done remotely, at least some of the time.

Here at MummyJobs, we’re passionate about tech and the positive impact it can have for mums returning to work.

That’s why we’re loving the work of Digital Mums and Mums In Technology, which both provide training courses in various aspects of IT to give parents that flexibility.

“But I don’t know anything about technology,” we hear you cry. But that’s the thing – jobs in tech aren’t all about computing and coding. How often do you post pictures of your toddler looking adorable on Instagram? Or share the latest teenage meltdown on Facebook for your friends to sympathise with?

Then you’re already using tech – you just need to harness that knowledge.

For example, a social media manager has a lot in common with how you live your life on the net – choosing what content to put out there and when to best fit your brand. Digital Mums offers courses specifically aimed at busy mums, training them for a career in social media that can be done remotely and around childcare commitments.

Seven in ten mums who undertake the course find paid employment within three months of graduation, with the figure rising to nine in ten after a year.

For those more interested in working “behind the scenes”, Mums In Technology teaches basic coding to equip students with the tools they need to build websites and get a taste of everything to do with software engineering.

Courses are hosted by partner organisations, such as Three and the Ministry of Justice, on their sites, and, best of all, affordable childcare is available at all training venues. Once complete, the course can pave the way for further training to create a rewarding and flexible digital career.

Of course, there are already women working in the field – and if you’re one of that 15.4 per cent, you’re in a great position. With recruiters actively trying to address the inequality, there has never been a better time to search for a new job or apply for that promotion.

Many mums will find that the ultimate pay-off is a job that can be done at home and at a time that suits you – allowing you to fit in bedtimes and school runs, as well as dealing with any unexpected events that can throw even the most military of operations into chaos.

The possibilities are endless, and we want mums to take full advantage of the tech revolution, and to be rewarded with a work-life balance that works for everyone.

Visit our new Spotlight on Technology section launching Wednesday 17th January to access our latest courses and roles!

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Mums Make More of Themselves at Screwfix

Being a mother comes first and there may finally be one employer who understands that. Here, Amy tells us about making real friends, working the hours she wants and actually having a life with her son – who, due to his condition, needs a little extra love.

How does Screwfix fit around your home life?

Perfectly. The contact centre is 24-7, so you can choose hours that suit you. I do 5pm ‘til 9pm, four nights a week, which is really good because of my 16 month-old son. My partner picks him up from Mum’s at half five, so I don’t have to pay for childcare. Obviously I’m not doing weekends, which is nice. And they even give you the option to reduce (or increase!) your hours. They’re really good about that and I really feel like they care. My manager is really supportive. My son was born with a condition, so he’s been in and out of hospitals having operations for more than the year of his life. But thanks to this job, I can spend the day bonding with him guilt-free.

Do you enjoy the work?

Definitely. Obviously I take calls, which I really enjoy because you do get to know the customers. You end up having a laugh and helping them at the same time. Everyone who works here makes it a brilliant environment, too. It’s nice to be able to talk to so many different people – older and younger, people with kids and without kids. There’s no set seating plan, so each day I can sit next to my friends or learn about someone new. Plus, you do get a lot of praise here. Each week, we have a score which shows us how well we’ve done. Mine’s been been five out of five for the past few weeks, which I’m really proud of. Sometimes you get left really nice comments from customers as well, which makes you happy to do the job.

“When I first joined, I thought there would be loads of targets, but it’s very relaxed. You’re more genuine to the customers, which keeps them coming back.”

Do you need to know about tools and hardware?

No, they provide all the training. I don’t think it’s about customer service experience, either. I’ve done it as a manager in the past, but there are people who have come here straight out of school. They look at who’s positive, bubbly and friendly. From there, you spend two weeks with your trainer and they go through everything with you. And you decide when you go on the phones. I was on them the first night because I was just eager to learn. They love this because it’s a very rewarding company. They look after their staff and good work is definitely recognised right across the company. They’re determined to help you progress onto bigger and better things, but if you’re content with where you are, that’s fine too.

If you want to learn more about our roles at Screwfix, click HERE