Worried about returning to work as a PA after having children? Here’s why you shouldn’t!
Returning to work after having children can be a worrying time. On top of getting childcare arranged and juggling a whole new routine, there is also the worry of how you will adjust back into work life.
Returning to the workplace, in a senior PA role, can be a worrying time for many women that have had a break to have children. In addition to the guilt of leaving the children to come to the anxieties of how you will adjust back into a professional environment.
Returning to a professional environment
Before you had children, you were a high-flying career woman, working as a senior PA in a corporate world. You would work a full day and then have time for functions or socialising afterwards. You would arrive at the office at 7 am and leave at 7 pm, and this was on a short day. You spoke the same language as those around you and everything seemed perfectly normal. Now you feel completely out of your comfort zone and you wonder how you ever did it. Does this sound familiar? Are you concerned about the following?
• The guilt of leaving the children
• Asking for part-time hours
• How you will get along with others who don’t have children
• How you will be judged if you need to leave to watch the school concert?
• The new technologies that exist
• Being able to juggle being a mum and a senior PA?
Most of these issues are anxieties that build up in your head but that don’t necessarily mean that you can’t do it! You are still the same person with the same skills that you had before. In fact, now you are probably even more organised than you were before. Juggling children, a household and a job is a pretty impressive skill to have. Don’t worry about fitting in. As long as you can do the job required of you (and you could do it before) then that’s important. By the time you return to the workplace, you will wonder why you ever worried.
The workplace hasn’t changed and neither have you
It’s true. Even if you have been out of the workplace for a few years, the working environment hasn’t changed. There may be new technologies in place but these skills can be learnt. If you were organised, efficient and quick to get things done under pressure, then you will still be all of those things. In fact, if anything you will be more adept at dealing with pressure and trying to do multiple things at once.
If you are concerned that technology will be beyond you, or that the systems may have changed then do some research. Do you have friends that still work in the industry? Make a list of questions to ask at your interview about the systems that they use. Ask if you can shadow someone for a day before your return or enquire about the training given. If you are serious about returning to work you want to work for an employer that supports the work-life balance and provides training for their employees.
Does the company support family life?
Times have changed and now employers have a greater requirement to support working mothers. Employees have the right to flexi-time and many businesses operate childcare systems whether that be funding or even their own childcare. The skills of working parents are no less valuable than those without children and employers want to give you the same opportunities. Just because your colleague can stay until 9 pm and you have to leave at 6 pm, doesn’t make you any less capable.
When looking for potential employers it is critical to ensure that they support working parents and that you are going to be able to juggle the two parts of your life. It is not unreasonable to ask these questions when you apply for the job. If you aren’t going to get the support then is it the right job for you when the perfect opportunity is out there?
I have a huge amount of confidence in the team at Attic – they have taken a lot of time and trouble to understand the culture and nuances of our business and it shows. I will keep asking them to support us because I know they will deliver a great result – quickly and with style.