Anna had a successful career as a business psychologist – until she found herself the mother of three children under the age of two-and-a-half! The birth of her son had been swiftly followed by that of twin girls, and her new circumstances – nursery fees for three and a husband who worked unpredictable hours – meant she needed to step away from her job for a while. Anna was a stay-at-home mum until the children started school, when she began looking for employment. Discovering that social media experience had become a prerequisite for many roles, she signed up for TechPixies. Now she uses her business psychology knowledge in the field of career development with The Career Innovation Company – a role that absolutely plays to her strengths. Read Anna’s guest blog below to discover how the TechPixies programme helped her find her niche.
“Once my children had all started school, I was very keen to start working again, and I tried freelancing as a business psychologist for a while. However, the work tended to be unpredictable – often involving overnight stays – which meant that my husband needed to take time off from his job to do the childcare. That wasn’t sustainable but, when I did some job searching, the requirement of social media skills came up time and time again.
It was then that I discovered TechPixies. It wasn’t only the subject matter that attracted me, but the fact that it had a face-to-face element (and I really wanted to be with other people) and that life coaching was included too. The coaching programme developed by Jess Rogershelped me to make the shift psychologically from my role as primary carer to feeling confident that I could use my professional skills again.
The course is great because it’s accessible to everybody. You learn at a beginners’ level but get more sophisticated in the particular social media channels that you favour. For example, I loved creating messaging and using images. It allows me to use language and creativity in a way I had less opportunity to in previous roles. Yes, you’ve got to be willing to accept it can be a steep learning curve, but we all got there in the end.
My cohort were very open with their connections and other opportunities. We all helped one another out – which was great, because one of the best ways of finding work is through networking and word-of-mouth.
While I was on the course, an ex-colleague of mine got in touch and asked me to do social media for his company once a week. Then this opportunity at The Career Innovation Company came. I do two days a week working on their social media and broader marketing. I focus on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Facebook advertising. The company’s values align with mine and the job fits around my family life too, so it’s perfect.
Although I’ve got lots of flexibility here, there needs to be more of it generally. There are all these women with degrees and valuable experience who find it hard to get suitable work – 50 percent of brain power just gets wasted. There needs to be more realisation that women returners have a lot to offer, and that organisations can work in more flexible and agile ways.
It’s true that you can get rusty when you’ve been at home for a while. You get out of practice with business conversations, forget what you had to offer – even though you’ve got all those years’ of experience behind you. It doesn’t come naturally at first and you do start to doubt yourself. On the other hand, so many people in the workplace don’t have the time or the opportunity to retrain, like we do at TechPixies, as they’re just too busy actually doing their day-to-day job. So we’re at an advantage.
I’d say to other women looking to find a job after having children: get a new skill set and get a network. Be open with people about what you have to offer. That’s how you’ll land a role. Doing the TechPixies course gave me an extra advantage, and I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t done the course.”