When to return to work?


Rachel (on the right), is our latest member joining the 9-2-3 company and here, she’s written a fabulous blog about her experience and decision making process about returning to the workplace.

Returning to work after having children isn’t always a choice. However, when it is, it can be an ongoing dilemma. In November last year, after a four-and-a-half-year career break I finally made that leap. It wasn’t a straightforward decision - and at times it felt pretty scary.

I loved being able to watch my babies grow and reach exciting new milestones, but there was always an underlying feeling that something was missing. I missed having something that challenged me, I missed interacting with people in a work environment, and I needed something that was mine - something separate to family life. But due to my husband’s work commitments and expensive childcare costs, we agreed that me staying at home was the best arrangement for our family, until the children were both at school.

Personally, I don’t think there is a ‘right time’ to return to work. There is always going to be something that clouds the waters of decision making - life events that always complicate things, or the internal voices that keep you in a ‘I can/ I can’t’ tug-of-war. Even when I made the decision to return to work, I had months of imposter syndrome: that annoying voice telling me…’You’ve been out of the industry too long, you have gaps in your skill set, you’ll struggle to fit back into a work environment, and you’ll never get hours that fit around the kids’. It’s always much easier to focus on the negative stuff (to protect yourself), than it is to focus on the positives and put yourself ‘out there’. So, the dilemma continues.

My sister would say to me, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself” and “what is the worst that can happen?” After I fired off a few knee-jerk responses like, “I’ve forgotten everything; I don’t have the right experience; how will I manage everything I do now and a job?”, I realised a few key things:

1.      I had a career before kids – so ‘working’ is not totally new!
2.      When I got my first marketing job, I had a degree but no experience – I now have over 10 years’ experience.
3.      I’ve learnt news skills before – so I can just upskill in the areas I need to.

I also realised that whilst I wanted to return to work, I wasn’t ready to dive back into a full-time role, especially whilst the kids were still so young. So, flexibility became a key requirement. I tried to research companies that offered professional part-time or flexible hours but struggled to find many opportunities. However, in the process I found 9-2-3 Jobs. I loved their ethos and wanted to be part of it. I called Helen, had an interview and here I am! It’s a change in direction, but I’m enjoying using my existing skills and past experiences. It’s also great to be back in a work environment, but flexible hours mean I can still be there for my kids. It’s the perfect solution!

During my job search it became clear that my social media experience (professionally) was lacking. Things had moved on whilst I was busy raising two little humans! So, l enrolled on a social media course with Techpixies - a fantastic Oxfordshire Enterprise that helps women upskill with modern technology in order to return to work, change careers or start a business. I learnt a huge amount and met a fantastic group of women with similar stories and great ambitions. It was a huge confidence boost too.

 So, I’m starting 2019 in a new a job with a new set of skills. I’m excited to be helping others find flexible working opportunities, and to be helping businesses realise the benefits. I’m not going to say returning to work is easy. But, with companies like Techpixies equipping you with new skills and confidence - and 9-2-3 Jobs making sure great talent doesn’t get overlooked - it should give you hope that change is happening!

To find out more about TechPixies with what they do and can offer, do take a look at their web page here: https://techpixies.com