Career – The dilemma, travelling for work when you have small children

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Image – http://thepointsguy.com

The very nature of my job is one that requires me to regularly travel both within Australia and internationally. To be honest, this was initially what really drew me to the role. I love love love travelling (well really, who doesn’t?) and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel all over the world. To say I have the travel bug is definitely an understatement, so the idea of being able to see more of the world and have someone else pay for it, is my kinda awesome.

Generally speaking, I’m required to travel to Asia (mostly to Singapore) a couple of times a year and interstate (to either Adelaide, Canberra or Brisbane) every second month. It was great in the beginning, but after a while travelling to the same old places all the time starts to wear a bit thin (and really I don’t have to travel that much). To make matter worse, I was getting called to Singapore at the drop of a hat for fly in fly out meetings. I would literally spend more time in transit than I did on the floor.

As annoying and exhausting as it was, for the most part I accepted it as just being part of my job, and really there are other people that would kill for the opportunity to travel, so who am I to complain? That was until I had a child. Before children, it was relatively easy to reorganise my schedule (although I didn’t think it was easy at the time), so if I had to travel at short notice, I’d be annoyed, but I’d change a few things around and a couple of days later I was off. It’s just not that easy anymore. I can’t just up an leave, I have a fully dependant little person to think about.

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Career – Upcoming networking events

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything career orientated, so I thought that I’d get my act together and give all those career women out there something they can use.

As the saying goes, it’s not about what you know, it’s all about who you know. So the question is, how do you meet those people that will help you get to where you want to be? We meet people via our work and schooling networks, and you can add to them via online platforms like LinkedIn, but personally, I’m a big believer in the benefit of networking events.

I try to attend a few different events a year. Some of a social nature and others come in the form of technical training. Given technical training is very specific to your line of work (I’m an accountant by trade, and let me tell you, no one wants to go to tax or accounting standards update unless they absolutely have to), so i’m going to focus on social and motivational events that anyone can attend.

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The Guilt of a Working Mum

I don’t know where the time has gone, but I’ve already been back at work for a month. Yep, how the hell did that happen? Before I went back I shared my thoughts about returning to work (read about it here), so now I’m looking at it from the other side, from the perspective of a working mum.

I’m new to this working mum business, but never did I think it would be this hard to juggle everything. I’m not by any means sooking, because that wouldn’t be fair to all of the women that do this every day and just get on with it, but it’s definitely a huge adjustment. The hardest thing is finding that balance between being a loving present mum and being fulfilled in my career. So many people have told me that I can’t have both, but I don’t want to listen to the naysayers, I desperately want to make it work for both of us.

Initially, I only planned to go back to work three days a week, but that didn’t go down all that well with my boss, so after some negotiation, we agreed that I’d go back to work four days a week, three in the office and one from home. My job has always been really demanding, so it was pretty normal for me to put in massive days in the office to stay on top of things, but I was ignorantly hoping that things would be different when I went back. What an idiot! One day back in the office and I was right back into my old routine pulling 10-12 hour days. I was so flat out that I didn’t even have time to check in, let alone even think about my little man. When I realised it was already 6pm and I hadn’t stopped to see how he was going, I felt so guilty. To make me feel even worse, by the time I got home, he was ready to go to bed, so I didn’t get to spend any time with him at all.

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Reflecting on my Maternity Leave

So I’m going back to work this month and that’s about where my good mood turns south.

No, I shouldn’t say that, in many ways I’m looking forward to going back to work, it’ll be nice to resume my career which I worked so bloody hard for and put on hold to have a baby (no regrets of course, best thing I’ve ever done). It’ll also be really nice to make some of my own coin again. I, like so many others had to self fund my maternity leave, I got the government money which is better than nothing, but I didn’t get a penny from my work, not even a congratulations your having a baby, here is a bonus for all of your hard work and enjoy your year away – zip, nada, nothing!

Fortunately the husband and I had planned ahead and saved enough money so that I could take a year off and financially we’d be ok. Even though we did that I still felt a little guilty going out and spending up a storm as he went to work everyday. Having said that he never complained or made me feel guilty, he was all for me enjoying this time with our son and really making the most of my time away from work.

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Where have all the women gone?

I knew there was a problem with the corporate world when I attended a tax update a couple of years back and there was a disproportionate number of women in attendance. Not only was the mix of attendees 75% male and 25% female, there seemed to be a huge age gap in the women in attendance, quite literally all the women were either under 30 or over 50. So it made me question, what happened to all the women in between?

Most data released indicates that there is actually a higher number of women than men graduating from university with business, accounting and law degrees. Further to this, there is always strong female representation during graduate intake at large professional service firms. However the stats also indicate that there is a decline in the number of females over 30 and in senior roles – directors and partners, at these same firms. So where do all of these female graduates go?

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