A message to employers, big business and government.
In an age where we talk of flexibility and work life balance and getting women back to work with better childcare, it’s time to stop and consider exactly what options women have. Simply because a role is available part time does not make it entry level. Yes, I have seen this advertised.
Having two young children does not make me housebound or limited. Like many mums, I am incredibly capable of working and getting my family organised and out the door every single day.
Why is it not ideal to answer essential criteria for time management skills with ‘as a working mother I manage the schedules of not one but three people every day. I run a household and get all of us out the door every single day’. My husband and I agreed it probably wouldn’t go down well in an application. What if under interests I popped, ‘mother to two beautiful and clever children’? Hmm, no. But I bet if my husband popped down ‘golf handicap of +2’ that would go down pretty well.
I hear these stories all the time, from my family and friends, to acquaintances and online experiences (many women list it as the reason for starting their own business). For some reason, there seems to be a view that just because women want a little flexibility at a stage in their lives, it equates to a lack of ambition or career fulfilment.
If working mothers are facing these challenges in looking for part time work, when we are the primary carers in many instances, then how on earth can working fathers even hope for a glimpse of flexibility to enjoy their children and family life. That’s a whole other blog.
Let me explain my situation. I spent almost 10 years working for a Federal Government organisation. I loved it, my role, my colleagues and the work I did. I also loved that I worked for an employer who supported my request to work from home one day a week due to a significant commute and then part time once I had children.
Last year following a restructure while I was on maternity leave I opted to take a voluntary redundancy. I loved my job, but felt after almost a decade with the one organisation the culture had changed and I needed new challenges both professionally and personally. It also presented me with an opportunity to fulfil a dream and start my own copywriting and communications consultancy and move interstate.
I started Two Sprouts Communications and I love my business. My family and I have moved from Sydney to Brisbane for a number of reasons, including a better lifestyle and more family time, an exciting career opportunity for my husband and more opportunities for all of us, our girls included. Now that we have settled into our new city, I am keen to look at the current employment market and see if there are opportunities to combine my consultancy with contract work or a part-time role. I’m keen to get to know the Brisbane market and some of the key communications professionals. What better way to do so than by working with them.
Like many working parents, I have an impressive CV and background. I’m proud of my achievements and what I can offer to an employer and colleagues. Having children does not change my skills, experience, commitment and ambition. It only drives it. I have two little girls to inspire.
I love what I do. I love my career. I love contributing and surrounding myself with intelligent, fun and committed professionals. And if an employer or recruiter misses that in me and many other working parents, then they’re going to miss out on so much more.
And that’s why I am writing this blog. If I don’t try to change my society as a working mother, what will it look like for my daughters? My eldest daughter, 5, tells me she wants to be a mum and then a vet. I explain to her she can be a vet first and then be both a mum and a vet. Can she?
About Katie Tilden
Katie Tilden is a FlexCommunity member and has extensive experience as a journalist, media advisor and communications and engagement expert. Katie has held senior media roles within public and private sectors, including 10 years with the ACMA. She now runs her own business, Two Sprouts Communications, a copywriting and communications consultancy developing content across multiple platforms for business and government clients.
Keen to embrace new and exciting ways of communicating and engaging, she is passionate about producing outstanding content for clients looking to grow their businesses and government organisations wanting to engage and inform their stakeholders.
You can contact Katie at Two Sprouts here: [email protected]