This is one in a series of stories written by mums for mums about going back to work after a career break.
Michelle’s career break story
Michelle had reached senior manager levels in her retail career however she wanted more flexible working to fit around family. During her career break, she retrained and now works as a freelance marketing consultant, and is loving it!
1 – Tell us about your career before your career break
I had a 20 year career in large retailers reaching Senior Manager level in roles in buying, marketing and eCommerce.
2 – What do you do now?
I now work as a freelance marketing consultant, working part-time during school hours.
3 – What you did you in your career break
During my career break which lasted 6 months, I trained with Digital Mums in social media management. I also joined the PTA Committee and worked for a friend’s business…so not much of a break really!
4 – What prompted the career change?
I wanted to build on my existing skills and career and upskill in social media management to enable me to have more flexible working hours, to fit around family.
5 – What was your biggest challenge?
Working as a freelance consultant, I found that I was actually doing more hours as I was working evenings & weekends. I missed the distinct separation between work and home that I had when I worked in an office. I also missed the social interaction with colleagues.
As a result I’ve now gone back to working in an office but school hours.
6 – What helped you go back to work?
Support from online groups and social media communities helped my confidence. Ultimately using my network from my previous roles resulted in a great opportunity offering the flexibility I needed.
7 – What was the biggest surprise?
Finding a company who was prepared to let me work school hours!
8 – What about flexible working>
I work 10-3 on three days a week. I then do freelance work from home on the other two days. As my skills were the right fit for what the company wanted, they were prepared to offer the flexibility I needed.
My previous boss gave me a great reference too which helped. [Editor’s note: important not to burn bridges if your employer can’t or won’t offer flexible working.]
9 – What advice do you have for other women?
She’s Back by Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan is a really useful resource and well worth a read. Be confident in your abilities and practise your elevator pitch then use your network to find opportunities.
Join the career break project
If you enjoyed this, perhaps because you’re on a career break or you plan to change career and you’d love to share your experience with other mums, I’d LOVE to hear from you. Get in touch with me here.