Anything but the Short Shrift

by Emma, a (newish) working mum
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Motherhood brings with it a whole catalogue of shifts in perspective but, for me, the biggie was the way I viewed (and valued) time. I used to spend time with abandonment – now, I milk it for all its worth! This has impacted the way I approach work too.

A year after the birth of my first daughter, my return-to-work-job-hunting escapades began and ended within a four-month period. I became fed up with having the ‘part-time or full-time’ discussion and watching the financial value of my time diminish the less of it that was available. It felt like all my hard work, experience and productivity meant nothing against the giant that is Time.

Logically, we all know that it’s not how long you sit at a desk for that makes the difference but what you do whilst you are there. In any business, the go-to people in demand – to join the team, lead the campaign or give their opinion – are the people who are the most positive, capable and productive. The assessment we instinctively make about the value of a person’s input rarely considers the actual time slot they are at their desk for – it’s just not (in my humble opinion) the defining factor which takes a business from being good to great. However, it is hard to convince a new employer of this fact when they don’t want the worry of whether the job can be done or not by a ‘part-timer’.

A year after my second daughter was born, my husband asked if I would be a test case for a colleague’s new recruitment website, Mumbu, aimed at Mum’s looking to get back into work. All I had to do was set up a profile and give my feedback. Thankfully, it was quick to do and I could happily report back that it ticked all the right boxes: I didn’t have to provide a personality-less, bone-dry list of positions and instead Mumbu helped me express my skills and talents in a new way. Plus, I was grateful to be in the driving seat of my (theoretical) search by selecting the companies and charities that I felt a natural allegiance with and extending an invite to connect.

Well, the irony is that two weeks later I landed my perfect job at a children’s charity, The Sunflower Trust.  The CEO of The Sunflower Trust, Nichola, accepted my invitation to connect and we began chatting about what we were looking for and I started work a few weeks later – part-time. However, the story of my appointment doesn’t end there, I was surprised and heartened to hear that most of the staff at the Sunflower Trust work part-time. Furthermore, they are the most productive team I have ever worked with!

Part-time working eradicates ‘faffing’. At Sunflower, we arrive, we catch up, we get on. If we need to discuss something then our CEO, Nichola, will ask for our attention – we’ll discuss it, we’ll agree our actions and we’ll get on. If I have an issue, I’ll ask for Nichola’s attention, we discuss it, we agree the solution and we get on. It’s a very rewarding and productive environment.

The fact that it is a children’s charity does help focus the mind too. We all believe that the children going through the Sunflower Programme deserve the most we can possibly give – and the fact that it is a health and wellbeing programme for children helps us walk the talk and maintain a positive attitude and a healthy work-life-balance: all of us exercise, get outdoors, eat well and challenge the left-right thinking of our brains just like the children on our programme.

The moral of this story? Approach Mumbu with caution…you may land a job even if you don’t mean to!

Emma

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