The phrase ‘returning to work after children’ seems to suggest to some people that you’re looking for a job that will be some sort of tepid compromise…something that you only accept because it works between school drop off at 8:03 and your youngest’s badminton lesson at 15:20. NO THANK YOU! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love our three children and I will of course be claiming at least fifty percent of the glory if any of them end up on an Olympic podium, badminton racquet in hand but my career is exactly that – mine. Returning to work after children for me was first and foremost about finding something that would be a clear and positive progression in a long and happy career.
Before starting at 9-2-3, I worked in advertising. I gained a place on a graduate placement scheme fresh out of Nottingham University and enjoyed twelve fantastic years in an industry I found to be creative, rewarding and ambitious. The client I looked after for the longest stretch was Mars. Making TV and print ads for some of their biggest brands across Western Europe, I was lucky enough to work within a team that hugely valued the contribution of each individual. After having our first child, I had a year at home (let’s not use the phrase ‘year off’ because anyone who’s had a newborn knows full well that it’s about as far from a gap year as you can get) before going back to once again look after Mars. I loved every second. I was working flexibly in an agency that trusted me to get on with my job.
Some time later, with the hope of having more children, my husband and I realised that my mother was right after all and our teeny tiny London pad wasn’t big enough so we waved goodbye to Hackney, moved to Oxfordshire and I resigned from my job.
That was seven years before starting here at 9-2-3 and in that time, two more little McCracken’s have joined the party. I have learnt so many things during my time at home: I’ve learnt that as much I like the idea of home-cooked organic menus for our children, they’re perfectly fine with pasta and melted butter (and sometimes more than once in two days); I’ve learnt that as mind numbingly boring as most parental duties are, there are fragments of magic that are so fleeting they’re almost invisible…and I’ve learnt that I really love to work.
Joining 9-2-3 has been more invigorating than an all over body hot stone treatment. I am part of a team where we all trust each other, have each other’s backs and are passionate about the ethos and success of what we do. I have not felt in any way that my return to work has been a compromise or a step backwards and I have as much fire in my belly now as I did when I was a sparky graduate trainee. For those of you looking to return to work, I encourage you to set your sights high. Yes, there are the practicalities of our careers fitting in with our lives but we should all be looking to work with companies that value who we are and what we bring to the table because that’s when people and businesses truly thrive.