I have a website which I created as a resource for parents and carers who needed advice about flexible working and their rights. It’s called Flexymama; take a look. However, despite being the purveyor of certain values in the workplace, guess what? I have ironically and unhappily found myself working for an employer who does not understand the concept of flexible working. I’m not blaming them for anything; I think this is because I am the first parent that they have employed and my situation is not something that they have had to deal with before. However, having let go of our part-time nanny due to financial constraints, my pre and post nursery routine will come into play next week. Already fraught mornings and rushed journey’s from work will become even more of my reality.
After requesting that my hours be adjusted to compensate for the nursery run, I have yet to hear back, but the general consensus is, “there are not enough staff…can you just work your regular hours until we have enough staff?” I have to admit, we were not given a whole lot of notice by our nursery that their fees would be increasing but, like so many parents, we are struggling with childcare expenses as it is so cannot afford to pay for extra hours outside normal nursery hours. This also has meant that I have not given my employer much notice of my need to adjust my working hours. But then again, how can parents be expected by their employers to fork out extra cash if their salary is barely covering the costs anyway? It literally is a case of having my hours adjusted and recruiting enough staff to cover flexible working (and sickness, and leave…) or I will need to find another employer who supports the modern worker. However, I love my team and the role is fun and relaxed (wear what you want to work, anyone?) This is the pickle that I currently find myself in.
naivety has a price
I say that I am naive as I carelessly assumed that a company whose ethos is equality and inclusion would indeed support parents and their individual circumstances, or would at least show some understanding. As parents we can find ourselves in a difficult position when applying for jobs. Do I tell the interviewer that I have children? Will there be an unconscious (or conscious) bias? In hindsight, I would have been better off researching more thoroughly the company and their values. I urge others applying for new roles to do the same.
next (baby) steps
The next steps really will be baby steps. Whilst I await my manager’s decision over my working hours, I must decide whether in the meantime I try to educate management about flexible working or just get my head down, do the best I can with the time that I may have left in the role, and use this period of my life to focus on my next career move. Who knows, this could actually be a blessing in disguise! So, when life gives you lemons, eat them.
Do comment with any thoughts; I would love to hear from those who have found themselves in a similar situation. What would you do?