Women: utilise your skills!
- By Sarah Dening -
- Oct 19, 2012
Today's guest blog looks at how women should take advantage of their skills and create their own opportunities...
During a radio interview last week, I was asked the question “what advice would you give to women who have young children, want to return to work, but cannot find employment?” My answer? Create your own opportunities, utilise the skills you already have.
Harsh? Maybe. Accurate? Absolutely. In the current economic climate, we all know it is far more difficult to find employment, and harder still to carve a career. As a married mother with four young children, I find it frustrating when other women say they would like to return to work, but the cost of childcare makes it prohibitive. I understand only too well the pain of paying the nursery fees each month, however I do wish these bright, educated women would take the blinkers off and adapt to suit their own circumstances.
Returning to work no longer means you must return to the office.
My online retail store Shop On Your Doorstep has been trading for over two years. As my youngest child tottered off to nursery, I turned on the home PC and considered my options. I knew I did not want to be tied to a 9-5 office job working for someone else. I wanted to create my own opportunities – and I needed that to fit around my family responsibilities.
When the last child enters childcare or schooling, this is the perfect time for the mother to return to work – if she wishes – and in the manner that suits her best. For some, that may be stepping back onto the career path they were following prior to the arrival of their children, for others (like me), it may be taking the step to create their own income and develop something more meaningful.
You may wonder what I did before children. Was I working in retail? No. Was I in marketing perhaps? No again. I worked in London for various law firms, both in the conveyancing department and also in the HR department. Steady jobs with a monthly salary. Did I want to return to this environment after I had my children? No. Whilst I am ambitious, I am also realistic. I am happy to take the occasional overnight stay in London or Birmingham, but I know that I would be unhappy if I could only put my children to bed at the weekend.
My advice to women who have a family and wish to return to work is this: Take the skillset you already have and adapt it to your current situation. If you were a PA in your previous (pre-children) life, become a virtual PA. If you were an accountant, be a freelance one. If you worked in PR, choose a handful of clients and serve them well.
So, how did I open an online store when my background was in the law? I liked shopping, and as a child I had a beloved Spectrum 128k computer. I combined my two favourite pastimes to create a job I knew I would love. After all, if you have to work for yourself, you may get lonely – so make sure that the road you choose to travel is one which you find stimulating.
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