Lay the groundwork now for balancing work and family.
In this day and age, many people have the luxury of being able to plan how and when they start a family. One item on the list is to consider your work, employer, and career and think about what you want or need to do after having a baby.
For some mums there are few choices. They have to return to work because of their personal situation, or they have to return to full time work because their employer is unable to offer flexible working conditions.
Issues tend to arise if you just want to go back to work part time, and you want to have a job that is fulfilling, interesting, challenging and allows you to continue in your chosen career.
I have two primary school aged children, and I started working at Dimple when they were aged 5 and 3, so I’ve had four years practice balancing work and changing family arrangements, transitioning from child care to kindergarten and now school.
With good time management skills your start and finish times can be flexible. You can choose a full time or part time arrangement and once you work your way up to a tier level that is suitable for you, you will have a consistent idea of your daily patient numbers and pay tier. There is no need for weekend work, which means more quality time with my family. It’s important to give as much as you get, so I bring a solid work ethic and proven organisational skills to show the company I have the ability to control my day, and this gives me the flexibility to manage the week of family commitments.
My children get dropped off at school for an 8:30am start and all of my facilities are aware of my start time of around 9am/9:30am. This is normally after elders have had their showers and are up and ready to start their day. I take a relaxed approach and like to work around the efforts of all care staff.
If you are considering a flexible career change to aged care podiatry, I suggest you consider:
- Company culture – before you join a company, understand its culture. Find out if the company is family-friendly and if they believe and live their values. Talk to current staff members; interview your interviewers about the things that are important to you.
- Stand up for your values – if work/family balance is important to you then stand up for that, don’t compromise on what you value because you don’t think you will be able to achieve it. Find a company to work for that will allow you the flexibility you need and allow you to spend the time you want with your child.
- When you get back to work, try to limit distractions and time wasters. Your time will become even more precious at work and at home. If you wonder how you fit it all in now, you will look back and wonder what you did all day! Be present in your role while you are in it. While at home limit checking email or making work calls, while at work avoid logging on to social media!
- Be flexible, delegate work where you can and prioritise time for fun. If you expect flexibility from your employer, you should return the favour. Be effective in managing your day, set alerts and reminders to ensure you give fun activities equal priority in your life. Oh, and ensure you have time to eat regularly and that you get a good sleep.
Face it: Some jobs or companies aren’t right for you – keep to what is important to you and go for the jobs that will give you the time you want for yourself and your family. Those companies do exist, and for me Dimple was one of them.
And on a more personal note, here are a couple of things to consider
- Create moments for yourself – when you have small children, a partner, a job and extended family responsibilities it’s easy to forget about yourself and your needs. ‘Me’ time is important as it helps keep you, you – and that’s the person your family and work mates want to be around. Schedule in some down time to relax, exercise and/or do your hobby.
- Understand that your priorities and interests will change – having children will change your perceptions, ambitions, and life goals.
If you are thinking about starting a family, a career change to aged care podiatry right now might be the best thing you could do. Aged care podiatry offers many flexible work arrangements that will resonate with any return to work mum (or dad):
- Work part time, with more flexible hours,
- No long clinic hours,
- No weekend work.
All of this means more family time for you!