Changing performance perceptions post-mat leave

General Details
Network:
Working mother
Profession:
Consultancy
Type of leave:
Maternity
Number of years professional experience:
11-15 years
Length of leave:
6-12 months
Type of experience:
Neutral
Work pattern on return:
Part-time
Message I took 8 months of leave with my first child, leaving as a full time high performer, and returning as a part time average performer. It took me a long time to adjust to never being able to 'compete' effectively with colleagues who didn't leave at 5 to collect a small child, or who could travel extensively, or who worked five days a week. I now understand that my contribution is extremely impactful and effective but in reality I am doing more than one job now and cannot be a high performer in all circumstances! I have learnt to settle for making maximum impact during the time I am focused on my work or with my children, and playing a longer term strategy to continue staying current in the market and developing my skills alongside raising my family. A significant part of the change has been my own psychological adjustment, but also an increasing number of colleagues who have/are returning from maternity and operating as part of a dual-career household. This has given me strength in numbers and the ability to complain/ask advice/sympathise with colleagues which has made a significant difference to the context I operate in.

Replies

Anonymous Posted On 25th Jan 2016 at 13:10
Thanks for sharing this. Reading this makes me realise I am not alone with the daily struggle to balance a career and parenthood. It is such a difficult transition to go from a high performer to been perceived as an average performer, even if you really want to be challenged and continue to develop professionally.
Anonymous Posted On 19th Jan 2016 at 13:24
I agree with the respondent - this really does resonate. I wish there were more resources devoted to helping with the psychological adjustment and the move to treading water as opposed to driving forward. I am not coping with this change at all and my eldest will be 9 this year - I am permanently sick with frustration watching less qualified, less able and less dedicated colleagues being rewarded for turning up 5 days a week, and when I make just as big a contribution while being paid for 3 and working 4. And I moved to the (quasi) public sector after I became a parent to lessen the impact of parenthood on my ability to do a really good job. I find myself moments from resigning on a weekly basis. I have had to give up all of my professional development/training/networking opportunities just to have a hope of meeting the expectations of output, and have fundamnetally de-skilled. Can 3 days a week ever really work? Please tell me it can
Anonymous Posted On 9th Nov 2015 at 11:14
Thank you for sharing this, it resonates hugely. Going from being a top performer to average is hard but your reflection that you can't be a high performer in all circumstances is true and as with everything you need to prioritise as to what is most important to you
Please correct the errors and try again.
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