Before my career break I worked as an Investment Analyst within Asset Management. I selected funds across asset classes, and communicated market data and market related information to internal and external clients. Prior to this I worked for Thomson Reuters analysing shareholder ownership profiles for investor relations for corporates throughout Europe.
When the opportunity arose to take a break and move to Singapore as my husband changed roles, it seemed like perfect timing; giving me the opportunity to focus on raising my three young children which was such a valuable time both for me and my family.
Three and a half years later and with a return to London, I decided the time was right to return to work. I applied for roles and didn’t anticipate any issues, I thought I’d pick up where I left off, however, I was surprised at how hard it was to get through to the interview stage of work applications. I had not expected this, as I had never had a problem before finding relevant employment.
It was through friends and women at my children’s school that I heard about Women Returner programmes. I decided to look into them as an option and started to follow various returnship opportunities. I also decided to attend the Women Returners’ conference in November 2016 and it’s here that I learned about FDM’s Returners Programme when I spoke to someone from the FDM team. It sounded like it would suit my needs and I decided to apply to the programme.
I went through the selection process for FDM’s Returners Programme and was successful. The programme consisted of a seven-week training course followed by a placement with a client for two years as an FDM Consultant. I started my training in January 2017 and successfully secured my placement as an FDM Consultant in May 2017.
I was very excited to be back at work again, and for the first three months I felt excited every morning getting off the tube and going to work. But it was also quite hard to adjust to pressures at work while balancing everything at home. The children had to get used to having an after school nanny and that I was not around as much as they were used to.
Finding the balance between work and family can be quite difficult, but as I had worked when I had my first two children I understand the pressure and the choices I have to make. One key thing is to not be afraid to ask for help. I did this when I needed support with my work. I reached out to my line manager at work and to the Returners team back at FDM. I think the key is to be honest and open about the challenges you face, but at the same time be positive and look for solutions.
I have found being back to work to be a positive experience, but it’s important to be realistic, both in terms of the work you might be doing, and the choices you have to make. One of the great benefits has been to involve my husband more with our childcare needs. When I was home, I tended to “do it all” myself, now I find that asking (and expecting) my husband to attend school events and being home earlier has been beneficial for the whole family. Sharing parenting and school commitments is important.
The best piece of advice I can share is to not feel guilty. It is also important to accept the fact that things are not always going to be perfect. Sometimes the suppers might be simpler than you might have wanted them to be, and sometimes you need to get a take away too.
I think it is about the long term perspective and the reality is that I will probably work for another 25 years, so there is no rush. I believe women can and should achieve whatever they put their mind to. We are role models to our children and to the younger men and women at work too.