Aim High, Be Ready and Prepare for Career Lift-Off!

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If you’re dreaming of getting your post-children career off the ground but dismayed by the lack of opportunities for flexible working … don’t despair. Meet Chris Hadfield. Born in 1959 in rural Ontario, as a nine year old boy he watched the moon landing of Apollo 11, and was totally enthralled when Neil Armstrong took that giant step for mankind. Like many boys before and since, he was captivated by the possibility of adventure beyond the known world. The dream of space travel had started to take shape in his young mind. There was only one problem …

In 1969 it was not possible for a Canadian to be an astronaut – there was no Canadian space programme. For a lot of boys, that discovery would have put paid to thoughts of extra terrestrial adventure. Most young boys who had lined up on the family sofa to watch the first lunar landing would have forgotten the dream, and picked another goal … or perhaps none at all.

Photograph official portrait of Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield in EMU suit. Photo Date: July 19, 2011. Location: Building 8, Room 183 - Photo Studio. Photographer: Robert Markowitz

But not Chris Hadfield. Instead, aged nine, he resolved that WHEN they were going to start training Canadians to be astronauts, HE was going to be ready. And HE was going to be the one they picked.

So he worked hard at his sciences, joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, and eventually studied for an engineering degree at The Royal Military College in Ontario, where he learned to fly. Eventually, as part of an exchange programme, he gained a masters degree in Aviation Systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. In 1992, aged 33, he joined the recently formed Canadian Space Agency, and in 1995 he took his first flight. The dream that that nine year old boy had held on to for 23 years had been realised. In his own giant step – of faith –  he had kept his eye on his goal, when to outsiders it may have seemed pointless.

So when you and I look at the jobs listings and see plenty of jobs we could do, but none that fit the dream of being the working mum who’s at home when the kids are … or when we begin to doubt that the marketing experience we had before children is still relevant in the digital world … when we’re ready to compromise on a low-paid, part-time job that’s below our skills level… or we feel guilty that we don’t have the right profile to be an entrepreneur… just DON’T!

Don’t be depressed. Be ready. Keep learning. Keep dreaming.

Go over your TechPixies notes. Watch the training videos you didn’t have time for earlier in the year. Search for a topic that interests you amongst those emails you signed up for, or on YouTube. Take one small step. And then another. Be prepared, so that WHEN the world of employment is ready to recognise the value of mature, intelligent, creative, experienced women who are dedicated to job and family, but whose circumstances don’t let them work full-time, and WHEN that perfect flexible or part-time job comes up in your location, you’re ready … and YOU’RE the one they pick. And who knows? Maybe your career will take you beyond your dreams … maybe even to the stars.

About the Author: Debbie Clayden

If you’re looking for someone to come up with exactly the right messages for your brand, products or services – in print or online – Debbie would love to help. Whether you need support with your website, your blog or newsletter, your social media posts or your traditional print marketing, Debbie will ask questions that get to the heart of your needs, help you think about your strategy, and come up with the right words to deliver results. You can reach Debbie directly at

With fifteen years’ experience in sales and marketing in the book publishing industry before becoming a mum, Debbie has had responsibility for most aspects of the marketing mix including sales, PR and promotions. Debbie now offers a freelance marketing and copywriting service to small businesses. She has crafted content for infographics, e-mailshots, website copy, annual reports, brochures and even museum interpretation panels, and devised an in-house writing guide. Organisations she has helped include a career development software company, a people management consultancy, an eco-building start-up, and, in the non profit sector, a family mediation charity and a medical NGO in Nepal. Debbie was in the 2015 TechPixie cohort.



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