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Thursday 22 April 2010

Experienced Manager seeks Flexible Working

I think I have probably said this before, but I class myself as extremely lucky when it comes to my work situation. I have a (relatively) responsible, generously paid job, that I am able to arrange more or less comfortably around my children. It helps that I managed a fantastic, experienced team who need minimal supervision from myself.

When I went back to work after DD2 was born, I was initially working four days a week - I changed this last September when DD1 started school, so that I now do 5 days, but with Thursday and Friday from home, within school hours.

I enjoy my job. However, I have also been doing this job for a while, and feel that it will soon be time for a change. My next move will probably/hopefully still be within the same organisation - one of the advantages of working for a large corporation. I am concerned though. What if I don't find something else I want to do? What if (heaven forbid) I get laid off in the next inevitable round of cost-cutting? WHAT IF I HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER JOB???!

The only jobs available that might be of interest (i.e. in a similar salary bracket) are full-time jobs. I'm sure if my current role was re-advertised, it would also be re-advertised as full time. After all, the only reason I am doing the hours I am doing is because I was already in the role and could negotiate. Most other mothers I know that work flexibly have done the same. Legally, a request for flexible working is only possible after having been with an organisation for 26 weeks continuously. Therein lies the crux of my dilemma.

Yes, I am practically doing a full-time job. Yes, I am probably more productive on a £/hr basis than I was when I was not working flexibly. However, employers do not necessarily see it that way. How could I walk into an interview and say, "nice job, sorry, can I just tell you what hours I would like to work?"They would laugh me out of the room and give the job straight to the person they would see as more committed. Short of consultancy or similar freelance work, the only option I would see would be to either bite the bullet and go full-time in the hope of negotiating flexible working down the line, or going for a lower-paid, completely part-time job. This is a choice I don't really want to contemplate. I'm really hoping I don't have to contemplate that for a long time.

Do you have experience of flexible working? Did you have to fight for the right to work flexibly? What would you do if you had to find another job? Do you know of any recruitment websites that might be of interest...?!


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