Summer is when most people want to switch off and take a break from dealing with their careers. Job search and hiring slows down, people go on holiday and thinking about ways to get ahead with your career is probably not top of the list. We want to have fun and enjoy time with family and friends.
However, who says you cannot do both? Why not carve out some time and be smart about your career activities so that you can enjoy the summer and take small steps to move your career forward.
Here are five simple steps you could take this summer:
Socialise and build connections
Why not make the most of BBQs, social meet ups and other fun events happening over the summer and meet as many interesting people as possible. Plant seeds and let people know what you are thinking of doing next in your career. Could you spearhead a meet up with old colleagues this summer? Forge new relationships and re-connect with old friends? Use LinkedIn to connect professionally and develop your network?
Build a schedule
With the summer comes longer days, ensure your career does not go by the wayside by putting some time aside to make this your focus. This might be as little as 15 minutes a day or an hour a week. Small steps will go a long way to move you forward and boost your motivation, knowing you are progressing.
Career planning map
Carve out some time to reflect on what your next career steps are. You could use a mind map to help you brainstorm your ideas. What role do you want to move into? What industry do you want to work in? What kinds of companies are you interested in? Get your career planning completed ready to start marketing your skills and expertise for the role you want this September. If you are stuck you may like to check out ourCareer Clarity course [hyperlink https://www.coachingpartners.co.uk/career-clarity], which provides flexible learning over the summer to fit in around you.
Learn something new
Learning something new can have a great impact on our physical and mental well-being. This could be just what you need to spark some new creativity and motivation or get a fresh perspective on your career.
Update your LinkedIn profile
Taking small steps to get career ready does not need to take a huge amount of time. Why not dedicate an hour a week over 3 weeks to refresh your LinkedIn profile ready to market your skills and expertise after the holidays or simply to start building connections and set up automated job searches.
You can enjoy the summer and push forward with your career plans. These simple steps will help you get career ready for September.
Rebecca Amin, Our New Flexible Working Warrior on MummyJobs.
One in three working mums suffer with unmanageable levels of anxiety and stress caused by managing a job and looking after children, according to a survey by Smart TMS – a mental health clinic.
This is a statistic I and, I am sure, many other mothers can relate to. Sadly this is often a silent struggle – many fearing if we voice our feelings we may be judged as a bad employee or bad mum. We thought we could have it all – the career and the family, is this how it is meant to feel? Should we just suck it up and get on with it?
I am Rebecca Amin, a Career Coach and I used to think that’s just how it would have to be. Thankfully, my mind-set has now changed, but it wasn’t easy.
Returning To Work After Maternity Leave.
In February 2016, I returned to work after my second maternity leave with all the thoughts so many of us have, “it’s my time to get back to my career, to being me again!” I returned, full of excitement, ready for phase two of my career – the post-children part. With some trepidation – I had returned from one maternity leave two years before and struggled. I had fallen pregnant quite soon after my return, so put my lack of passion for my work down to pregnancy and first time mum stuff – getting to grips with nursery, new routine etc. This time it was for real. Time to make my mark again, get back to the heady days of high performance, recognition, loving my career again…
BANG. It didn’t happen. At first I gave myself time to settle back in, gave myself allowances. However, each day felt harder and harder to find motivation for my work and all passion for what I did had gone. The fact was the environment and work I was doing had lost its shine. I didn’t care enough. I still did what was needed, because I had to, not because I got any enjoyment from my work.
This is not what I expected. I had always enjoyed my job. At first I felt confused – what was wrong with me? Was I suffering from delayed post-natal depression? Why was everyone else happy? Then guilt – why is this not enough for me? I should feel lucky to have a good job, healthy kids, a nice home… Next resent and anger. Why should I do this? Why can’t I do something that gives me some satisfaction?
Looking back, this looks like the stages of grief and I now believe, in some way, I was grieving my working life pre-children.
My Career No Longer Suited Me.
Don’t get me wrong – I love being a mum. I wanted to have a career, but I couldn’t carry on like this. As I worked through what was happening it became clear the career I was in was simply the wrong fit for me at this point in my life. I wanted to do something more worthwhile and meaningful to me. I needed to make a change – but what and how?
Despite the creeping sense of greyness blanketing my life, I needed my salary and an alternative job that I felt excited about, at the right level was hard to find. As a result, I wound up feeling completely stuck.
The Need To Make Positive Career Choices.
For a time, I told myself sticking with a job I was unhappy in, was what it meant to be grown-up. It was the realistic and responsible choice… But this approach was not sustainable if I wanted to protect my mental health and be happy at work, and therefore in life, again. I went round in circles and eventually bit the bullet and made changes. I took a four month sabbatical. During which I spent time reflecting on what would make me happy. I thought about what I really needed in my working life and career and trained as an accredited Career Coach.
I have since found these thoughts and feelings of course were not exclusive to me. It made me feel shocked and saddened to realise just how prevalent this unhappiness, anxiety and stress is, in working mums. This is why I dedicate my coaching to supporting mums in the same situation.
Of course not all stressed mums need a total career change. Some do, but some simply need tweaks – more flexibility. Not to be made to feel guilty for going to Sports Day, not smiling on the outside apparently holding it all together, but regularly hiding in the bathroom crying on the days it all feels too much.
Mental Health At Work.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, almost 15% of working adults experience mental health problems in the workplace. Women in full-time work are twice as likely to suffer than men (19.8% vs. 10.9%). People Management have reported more than a third who have flexible working experience an improvement in their mental health as a direct result.
The Future Of Work.
I love supporting my clients to take control and figure out changes to get back to being happy in their careers again. What I would love even more would be if more felt flexibility at work was an option. Not something gifted to you once you have proved yourself after years of service. And I don’t mean the honour of being allowed to work from home on a Friday, but true flexibility that impacts on life for the better. Seeing so many leave jobs with flexibility at the crux of their struggles is outrageous. The talent lost. The confidence shattered of individuals feeling like they are failing. The belief they can’t continue professional careers if they have children and need flexibility.
The optimist in me feels the tide may be turning. I for one truly hope we may be at a pivotal point for flexible working.
If you enjoyed this post share across your social platforms. Also tune in next month to read more on children being career passion killers…
If you would like to find out more about my Career Coaching, please visit my website Rebecca Amin Coaching.
As we reach different points in our lives, our priorities change. As parents, many of us are looking for flexible work in order to achieve work/life balance and this may mean making a career change.
Most people find the idea of change unsettling and worrying, but if you do the groundwork you can face it with confidence.
A Guest Post from The Coaching Partners
Use Your Expertise
Over your career to date, you will have built up a whole host of skills, knowledge and expertise. A career change does not necessarily mean you need to start over. Use the expertise you have to take elements forward as you adapt, pivot and flex towards a new career path.
Find Something That You Love
Spend some time thinking about which elements of your past roles you enjoyed and were passionate about. We all have parts of our jobs we dislike or even dread. Which components raised your energy levels? Focus on these energy-boosting elements when making a career change.
Use your network to explore new opportunities. Cast a wide net to find people in the right circles. If you have taken time out of your career, perhaps to raise a family, you may have developed new social networks. Who have you met at your children’s nursery, school or activity classes? Are you part of any hobby/interest groups where you meet different people?
Think about how you can leverage your network. The more conversations you can have with people where you talk about your career change, the more ideas, leads and connections you will build up to help you.
Think about your long term career aspirations
Think about your long term career aspirations, not just short term goals. Taking some time out to really reflect on what you want to do with your career long term will lead to greater career fulfilment.
Future-proofing your career is simply taking steps to prepare yourself for a changing work environment. We are already seeing workplace changes in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic where enforced remote working and a greater reliance on technology is prevalent. Rather than waiting for changes to happen and being reactive, future-proofing involves a proactive approach where you ensure your skills and expertise are highly marketable in the job market.
Career Change Path
How will you make your career change? Having a plan can help you to navigate the change successfully. Will you resign from your existing role and dedicate yourself entirely to this career change or will you move towards your career change in conjunction with an existing role?
You could think about building a side hustle, which is a great way to test your new career path or business idea. Once you have developed and tested your side hustle, you could make this your main occupation.
BRIDGE THE GAPS
Demonstrate Your Transferable Skills
You need to be able to demonstrate transferable skills. Do you have a portfolio or blog to demonstrate your relevant work? Update your personal branding including your CV and LinkedIn profiles. Adapt these to your new chosen career path and highlight your transferable skills.
Close Gaps in Your Skillset
There may be gaps between where you are now and where you want to be. How can you take the next steps and get real experience in your new chosen career? Can you pick up freelance work? Could you volunteer?
You need to close the gaps in your skillset and prove that you have the capability to do the work you want to do. Can you take online classes or undertake relevant professional certifications?
Career change requires careful planning and consideration to be successful. It can be a welcome opportunity to gain new experiences, find flexible work and to achieve work-life balance.
The Coaching Partners offer a range of services that will help you successfully navigate a career change. If you’d like to learn more about them then see what they have to offer here – The Coaching Partners
Look out for some more fabulous blogs on career changes here on MummyJobs.co.uk
We also have some great stories on our sister site FindYourFlex.co.uk like this one from Leila Singh.
Apart from the weight gain, hair loss, loss of inhibition and sudden fascination with bowel movements, one of the most common side effects of having a baby is a loss of confidence.
And we’re not just talking about in your abilities as a mother (let’s face it, we’re all winging it), but in doing the job you’d been doing for years before that.
You’ve gained a child, a family, a new purpose in life – but have you lost you?
So many women report that they’re no longer seen as a person in their own right, merely a mother. Combine this with the worrying number of mums who return to work when they don’t want to, or are prevented from working by redundancy or prohibitive childcare costs, and it’s clear that we’re facing a parenthood confidence crisis.
Kim Cutler, of MummyJobs coaching partner Storm McQueen, became a life coach after struggling to balance her stressful City career with looking after her two young children.
She says: “I had my first baby in 2014 and returned to work after a very short maternity leave of four months. What played heavily on my mind was the amount of hours I had worked pre-motherhood.
“I began to read The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, and, from this, I took action and got the support of a life coach. After just a two-hour phone call, I had been completely taken out of my comfort zone of allowing fear to control my life.
“Much to my own shock, I immediately called my boss and said I wanted to leave!”
The difficulty of balancing the professional and the personal is a common theme among Kim’s clients.
She says: “The common challenges I see with my clients when they prepare to return to work are loss of confidence, loss of identity and worries about flexibility.
“Pre-children, the majority were able to give full focus and time to their work, post-children, they can’t possibly see how this will work. For example, if a meeting runs over, pre-kids you would just stay until it’s finished; post children, you have to collect them from nursery, so you have to leave.”
So how can a life coach help? While their job isn’t to offer advice as such, a coach will encourage you to question yourself and establish what you want out of life.
Having a clear plan and the confidence to ask for it is often the key to making a flexible working request achievable – present your employer with a solution, not a problem.
Kim says the question to ask is: “What does your ideal week look like?” Once this is defined, how does this fit around the roles and tasks? What can you propose that works for you and employer?”
Like all of us here at MummyJobs, Kim’s vision of the future is for a fully flexible working environment, where parents are valued for what they bring to the workplace, rather than judged for what they take.
“I hope that more and more organisations realise the huge loss of talent through not offering flexibility in the workplace.
“I would also love to see coaching programmes more widely used in support of returners, this has such a significant impact on employee output and wellbeing.”
If you feel you could benefit from a confidence boost, whether in your personal or professional life, check out our partners here.