I follow the WATC portal with great interest as the existence of such websites and networking groups is a vital artery for women to come forward, debate and explore business advice and networking opportunities at hand.
On returning from maternity leave (6 months – hardly a break), I came to the realisation that I was the only mother amongst a gaggle of ‘yuppies’. I came back with enthusiasm, but soon somewhat felt as an outsider in a corporate system unacquainted with a working mother.
Having an interactive forum serves as a great platform to increase our personal exposure, business and leverage relationships. After all, female modesty is not the best advocate of modern business.
This however leads me to a topic that is hot on the business agenda and a personal experience that some may relate to.
I am a mother of one, a beautiful 23-month boy Skyler. Having worked in the City, I faced a hard reality check on return to London. From the chores of a day-break commute to a hasty new office ecosystem. An endurance that I felt obliged to obey and conform to.
I am a Business Development Manager working for a global IT services firm. On returning from maternity leave (6 months – hardly a break), I came to the realisation that I was the only mother amongst a gaggle of ‘yuppies’. I came back with enthusiasm, but soon somewhat felt as an outsider in a corporate system unacquainted with a working mother. A subtle sense of exclusion dwelled on me – no drinks invitations, a general ostracism from various things. An embargo on my career prospects; support and understanding at times.
The question is why is there a certain perception on women coming back to work after maternity leave? We haven’t regressed intellectually; but in fact gained super multitasking skills.
Reportedly, the number of working mums drops significantly and there is a big loss in female talent across the board. The corporate world is not altruistic. IT advances have certainly made it easier to work flexibly and the IT systems are more efficient to support remote working. With the latest technology available, this shouldn’t be a problem, should it? Besides, women who return to work after giving birth are more likely to deliver consistent results if they have greater flexibility. A virtual, agile working model aims at parents in general as fathers’ roles are changing too.
Business benefits from having role models of women who have successfully returned to professional careers. Yet flexible working proves challenging for conservative organisations.
I remain however a positive go-getter.
The 3 hour commute I endure everyday, doesn’t sap all my energy. It is my personal thinking space (often invaded by ill-mannered menfolk). This led to me starting my own style consultancy: http://www.stylingagency.co.uk/.
I also make music with my record label partner, featured on over 50 worldwide compilations i.e.: Baby Chillax Bambino and Coffee Shop Beats
And yes, I still devote myself to my dearest son.
To conclude, businesses are now looking to change shape to fit this predicament. However, I do wish to bring up a recent comment made by Nigel Farage claiming that women who take time off work to have children are “worth less” to employers than their male colleagues.
Is he just a brassy bigot, a chauvinist? Or has he expressed views that some of our peers would not dare to say in our face?
Kasia works for a global IT services provider championing Women in IT initiatives. She has a Master’s degree in Communication and Information Management. In addition, she is the founder of The Styling Agency; an image consultancy that provides fashion inspiration and style advice to professionals who wish to enhance or change their look.