Post-maternity career break

General Details
Network:
Working mother
Profession:
Consultancy
Type of leave:
Career Break
Number of years professional experience:
16-20 years
Length of leave:
2 years - 5 years
Type of experience:
Mixed
Work pattern on return:
Part-time
Message After many years in consulting, I took maternity leave (in full) in 2011. I had very little contact with my employer during my leave, other than a brief call to inform me of the outcome of my pay review and a letter regarding a low-impact business change. I did feel out of sight, out of mind; but was not overly bothered. Towards the end of my leave, I contacted my manager to discuss my return and what degree of part-time/flexible working they would offer. I previously worked a 4 day week, in London, but had reservations about returning to this given the long days, commute and regular business travel involved. I requested an unpaid extension of 6 months leave but this was declined, with the company stating they could not guarantee me a role beyond the end of maternity leave. Despite having had a good career, I didn't feel they particularly cared whether I returned or not, possibly due to business changes over the previous 2-3 years which meant my unit had re-focused and I felt my skills and experience were valued less now. My husband and I decided that I would resign and take an extended career break until our child started school. I worked from home for the next 2 years on a self-employed basis for a few hours a week. I began looking for a job a year before our child started school, and through my local network of contacts was fortunate to be offered a flexible, part-time, interesting role in a small fast-growing organisation. My new employer is committed to supporting me as a working parent and my working arrangement allows me to care for our child outside school hours.
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