Return to work after maternity leave

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Q. I’ve currently returned to work after my maternity leave and I’m miserable working full time, I would love to go part time but its not really done in my company and I am not sure of the best way to approach this with my manager. Can you advise? - Orla


A. Many thanks for your excellent question. Question for you: were you happy in your role/company previous to having a baby? ie are you still motivated to do the job you are currently doing? if the answer is yes then great -lets hatch a plan to make this work for you!

What you will want to do is to strategise and plan for the approach your Manager to pitch a healthier work-life arrangement for you. Who knows you may be surprised by his or her responsiveness. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. By choosing to work SMARTLY you can become the best that you can be on the job and become indispensable to your boss. In order to do this you will want to ensure they "cant do it without you". Perhaps you need to raise your profile in there, volunteer for high risk projects, prioritise your workload and make a plan to work really smartly. Avoid becoming negative or playing devils advocate in meetings ie "play the game".

Focus on what you are in control of and thats performing really well. Once you are feeling on top of things your confidence will be improved and your powers of negotiation!. When you go to your Manager concentrate on the positives first, for example, how much you enjoy your job and you want it to work for you with your new circumstances. Then discuss your needs and wants and most importantly provide a solution.

What would you be happy with? a 4 day week? a 3 day week/ 5 mornings a week? 2 days working from home? you decide. It may be worthwhile to take this in steps ie initially a 4 day week aiming for a 3 day week in time or 1 day from home aiming for 2 in time. Talk benefits of this with your manager and what the company will get in return, for example; a happier motivated employee fully committed to her company.Would it be possible to organise a job share? would you be willing to handle the recruiting of the job share person? Make it as easy as possible for them. Food for thought and ACTION maybe?

If however this doesnt work for you and you find that your current job is simply incompatible with your personal life priorities, then you should seriously consider your position. But do so from a place of optimism and creative possibility rather than one of defensiveness and damage limitation. Examine your options and decide what your priorities are, what you are willing to sacrifice (ie financial hit/ location) and get moving. Wishing you every success with this and congratulations on your new arrival!