EMAIL 9-2-3

Use the form on the right to contact us or call Helen Wright 07789 270183

Steeple Aston
Oxfordshire
UK

9-2-3 is a recruitment agency that specialises in placing high quality candidates into jobs with hours that fit in around the school run.

CBA.jpg

Blog

Case studies and thoughts on the working Mum in today's workplace

 

Flexi-Star series pt 2: Vicki Psarias (a.k.a Honest Mum)

Helen Wright

Meet Vicki, who has been on an incredible flexible working journey, carving out a remarkable career for herself which works for her and her family. Vicki is #1 Bestselling Author/ Blogger/ Vlogger/ Filmmaker/ TV Director & Founder of Honest Mum® honestmum.com .....just how does she fit it all in?

10058-B.jpg

1. Tell us who you are and a little about yourself…

I'm a mum of two, former award winning filmmaker and full time blogger and vlogger. My debut book Mumboss became a number 1 bestseller on Amazon when it was released earlier this year, and in it, I share all that I've learned over the 7 years moving into this gloriously democratic and nourishing digital space.  

2. What’s your flexible working purpose?

Directing proved to be inflexible (12-15 hours on set doesn't work with kids) so after briefly returning to direct some commercials when Oliver was 1, I felt incredibly lucky when my blog organically became a business and I could pivot into blogging and vlogging in a flexible, well paid career that worked for my family.

3. What encouraged you to start your flexible working journey?

The inequalities and inflexible nature of the traditional media industry I was working in.  

4. What’s your top tip for those seeking flexible work or those who need to ask for this at work?

Speak to HR at work, explain your requirements and negotiate. Consider starting a digital side hustle that could become your full time job. Follow your passions.  

Register here to attend our National Flexible Working Day on 12th September to join in the conversation around flexible working, see how it works in action and talk to business' who are doing this already. If you can't attend in person, why not join in online, posting your comments and questions (and we'd love to see your pictures too) using our hashtag #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay - see you there!

Returning to work....finding my way back

Helen Wright

Six years. 

Six years of baby groups, teething, weaning, sleep deprivation, nappy changes, playdates, Cbeebies, endless snacks (for the kids…and me), potty training, coffee gone cold, epic meltdowns (for the kids…and me) and cuddles. LOTS of cuddles. 

I have loved my time away from the workplace, embracing the role of Mummy. It’s never been an easy task, nor one that I instantly felt secure in, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I left my full-time job as Head of Communications back in February 2012, to have my daughter, Daisy who is now six. I was more than ready to ditch the 9-5, and the gruelling 90 + minute commute into central London (I had a ‘triple event’ commute, encompassing a 45-minute train journey, a tube ride and a significant walk). Making that mental shift from enjoying a professional full-time career, to becoming a stay-at-home mum definitely took a while to get my head around. Suddenly, strategy meetings and photoshoots were replaced with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in a village hall with a bunch of strangers and a crying baby.   

I had intended to return to work once my maternity leave ended. However, life had other plans for us, and our little family of three ended up swapping the hustle and bustle of Essex for rural Northamptonshire. I instantly loved our new surroundings, and relished life being mum: the world of work seemed a lifetime ago. I soon fell pregnant again, and in September 2014 our little hurricane Henry was born. 

It was when Daisy started school that I started to wonder: logistically, how would I return to the workplace again? Without family close by to help, will the numbers stack up once we’ve paid for childcare? Are my skills, experience and knowledge still relevant? But, just as that particular psychological shift took a while, so has the shift from being a stay-at-home mum to working mum of two. You can find your way back. 

Over time, I briefly flirted with the idea of going freelance, but my heart wasn’t really in it, and with two young children, there were just never enough hours in the day. And so an acute lack of confidence started to creep in. But (and this is where the sisterhood really comes into its own), over lots of coffee, wine and conversation with some brilliant women I’m proud to call friends, I realised the following:

  • I still have those skills, I’m just not using them at this moment.
  • I am capable and intelligent.
  • My kids won’t hate me for returning to work.
  • Sometimes, you just have to jump in and see what happens. 

And so I did! 

The opportunity to work with Helen and the team at 9-2-3 came up, and I knew it was too good to miss. Working flexibly, over three days with some home-working, has allowed me to roll up my sleeves and get stuck into a job that is varied and interesting. 

First day nerves


For us mums, the return to work can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming. However, I couldn’t have asked for a better first day back. The team were welcoming, friendly, and inspiring. There was hot coffee and chocolate, and I even managed to set up a gmail account! From chatting to other mums in a similar situation, I know that a fear of technology is something many struggle with when contemplating their return to work. I can honestly say that it hasn’t been an issue. Your standard office and email systems are all pretty intuitive, and they really don’t change that much, regardless of how many years it’s been since you last set up your out of office. Importantly, if you’re unsure, it’s OK to say, “I need help!”. Even if you do make a mistake, or get in a muddle, it’s rarely a disaster and there’s always some support available. I’ve managed to get to grips with a database that I’ve never used before and navigate MSOffice without too much drama - proving to myself that full-time motherhood had not rendered me completely useless! In fact, it’s the ability to juggle and project manage a dozen things at once (a daily requirement with children and a household to run) which makes mums and dads returning to the workplace so valuable. We’re not phased by much, and know that given an hour or two, we can blitz whatever is in front of us!

Driving home from the office that day, I felt exhilarated and so grateful for the opportunity to be working again. Job hunting can feel depressing when everything is the standard full-time, 9-5 gig. It excludes so many talented, enthusiastic, and skilled individuals. A few months ago, I was beginning to feel a little defeated as I knew those hours and rigid approach to working wouldn’t fit in with my family life.

I’ve now been back at work for a month, and it has been fabulous. I love using my brain in a different way and have realised that those skills from my ‘previous life’ in PR are still there; a little rusty maybe, but alive and kicking nonetheless! Returning to work has given my self-esteem a huge boost, and I can still take my children to school and pre-school. I was able to attend Daisy’s celebration assembly, and I can even squeeze in the odd early-morning run before I start work for the day. Flexible working has enabled me to contribute ideas, be part of a brilliant team, and champion a cause that I truly believe in. All of this, and I still get to spend enough time with my children for them to drive me slightly nuts - because that’s part of their charm!

 

35293591_10156152993126900_7098074175566249984_n.jpg

 

 

Across the UK, professional women and men are waking up to the reality that the traditional 9-5 is not working for everyone.  On 12th September 2018, 9-2-3 Jobs would love you to join us as we launch our National Flexible Working Day. It's a chance to join in with our panel discussions about the benefits of flexible working, see it in action and give you a chance to network with like-minded people and forward-thinking businesses. Register here for the event or join in the conversation online using our hashtag #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay. Share your own journey and pictures on the day across our social media platforms. Help us to really shout about Flexible Working and all its benefits!

Flexi Star series pt 1: Meet Katie Dickerson....

Helen Wright

Katie Dickerson author photo (1).jpg

Katie Dickerson, better known as SquirmyPopple online, shares her flexible working journey with us as part of our Flexi-Star series, celebrating flexible work in action. Here, she fills us in on how flexible working benefits her family and how she makes this work....

1. Tell us who you are and a little about yourself…

I'm Katie, a Glasgow-based digital content/service designer with a three-year-old daughter, an archaeologist husband, a very loud ginger cat and a pretty serious cheese habit.

I'm really passionate about flexible working and write about it a lot on my blog, The Squirmy Popple, where I also write about feminist issues and funnyish parenting stuff.  

2. What’s your flexible working purpose?

I work four days a week, Monday to Thursday, which allows me to stay home with my daughter on Fridays. I can flex my starting and finishing times, work from home when I need to, and stay at home with my daughter if she's sick, so I feel like I have a pretty good work/life balance.

3. What encouraged you to start your flexible working journey?

When I was returning to work after maternity leave, I knew that I didn't want to work full time. Not only could I not afford childcare for five days a week, but I also wanted to spend more time with my daughter.

I submitted a flexible working request after discussing my options with the management team, and we eventually agreed on four and a half days a week. My husband and I starting off splitting the childcare on Fridays. After my husband got a new job and could no longer watch our daughter on Friday mornings, I asked my manager if I could work four days a week instead and submitted a formal request to change my working hours, which was accepted. 

4. What’s your top tip for those seeking flexible work or those who need to ask for this at work?

When you make a request for flexible working, don't make it all about you - make sure you show your employer how flexible working can work for both of you. Instead of saying, "Working from home would be easier for me," say something like, “Working from home will mean I don’t have to do a long commute to the office every day, which will mean I have more time to work on my projects.”

If your employer seems reluctant to agree to flexible working, ask for a trial period of a few months so you can prove that the arrangements can work and iron out any issues. There are also plenty of articles about how flexible working can benefit employers and examples of companies that are using it - don't be shy about giving them evidence to help back you up!

 

Across the UK, professional women and men are waking up to the reality that the traditional 9-5 is not working for everyone.  On 12th September 2018, 9-2-3 Jobs would love you to join us as we launch our National Flexible Working Day. It's a chance to join in with our panel discussions about the benefits of flexible working, see it in action and give you a chance to network with like-minded people and forward-thinking businesses. Register here for the event or join in the conversation online using our hashtag #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay. Share your own journey and pictures on the day across our social media platforms. Help us to really shout about Flexible Working and all its benefits!