Before having children I worked for 13 years in finance, with 5 years on the sell-side equity research and the remaining on the buy-side as an investment analyst with portfolio management responsibilities. My sector responsibilities covered mainly industrial companies, but I also covered retail as well as support services sectors (ranging from business process outsourcing to IT services) with a global mandate. So it was both an intellectually challenging and financially rewarding role. When I took time off to focus on having child number 2, the timing coincided with the financial crisis. As such I knew there was very remote chance of finding work in a similar capacity and seniority like I was used to, so I ended up taking a four year break. It was, in hindsight, a very important time for me as a person, coping with both children (four and a baby at the time) and learning to be a housewife, which was totally different from my previous career as a an analyst. I took the time to recharge my battery and also to pursue another graduate degree in Chinese Art, a subject matter with which I had been fascinated for some time.
When both children were in school full time, I started seriously thinking about returning to work. It was a very daunting process but the iRelaunch conference that I attended back in 2010 was very inspiring and I thought that I should at least try. I believe that the workshop sessions that I took with Julianne were particularly instrumental. In a small group of 4, we talked about our career goals, reworked our CVs and even practiced interviewing techniques.
Shortly after that, I began working, on a part-time basis, on a friend’s recommendation at a boutique on small research projects. I realized that my spreadsheet and analytical skills were fully intact (just a lot slower from infrequent use), but that gave me the confidence to find full time work. Now I work full-time in an asset management firm specializing in purely European equities, which reduces the need to travel substantially compared to my previous global role. I am much happier since returning to work as I don’t feel like I am sitting at home waiting for children to come home after school, but there are times when the demands of both home and work are in conflict due to scheduling issues. That is the realities of life but somehow these can be sorted out with better planning and understanding bosses.