How mums can change careers whilst holding down the fort

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It’s not easy this whole ‘working at the same time as looking after the kids’ thing.   I know it’s the hardest thing I do.  Our motivations for pushing ahead are naturally different from mum to mum but in general we 1/ need the money 2/ need to retain our identity as a sane, intelligent human being 3/ we genuinely love what we do.

But sadly there are all too many working mamas who don’t necessarily love their 9-5. What about the mums who are desperate to make a career change, but don’t have a clue about where to start?

I was recently picked as one of Vauxhall’s “40 over 40” business men and women who changed careers later on in life, despite the misconception that it’s just the millennials who do so. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about working mothers specifically, and compiled a list of top tips for busy mums who want to take the leap and swap jobs, go back to school, or start a new business while still holding the family together. No pressure ladies, we’ve got this.

Just do it!
You are NOT alone!  Research shows more than half (56%) of Generation X believe a ‘job for life’ stifles development, with one in five planning to move industry sectors in the next two years. 70% are seeking a major change and almost half of us would like to start a business of our own in ten years.

I’ve always said that you are 99% of the way there when you know what you really want – it’s the deciding that’s the hard bit – making it happen falls into place after that.  So…. This is the time to reflect on why exactly you want to make the move, whether it’s a change of pace, being your own boss, or flexible working hours to spend more time with the family. Figure out what it is that you want, make lists, and don’t fall in the trap of staying slightly unhappy where you are because it’s easier, less stressful or more comfortable. It’s not.

It’s your turn to do your homework  
Changing careers is relatively effortless, but finding a job that you love, takes time, effort, and dedication – especially if you’re also a part-time cook, cleaner and family taxi-driver. If you’re a stay-at-home-mum, use any free time you have to do a power-hour of research. If you’re already working, use your lunch breaks to update your LinkedIn account, freshen up your CV, and get in touch with relevant recruiters. A third of over 40-somethings have a hobby that they intend to earn a second income from, so perhaps you already have a passion project that you could turn into a career, or second income over time.

Sharpen those skill sets
Mums who have been out of the work game for some time are often intimidated at how much has evolved or changed since they left. This lack of confidence exists amongst mums back from maternity leave, but also for those simply competing with younger, seemingly smarter millennials. This is not the case at all – in fact, most of us are eternal students at heart, with over a third seeking university level education or a professional qualification in the next 24 months. Before jumping straight into a new career do whatever it takes to give you your confidence back – talk to people, take a few evening classes, attend workshops, watch TedTalks and YouTube videos to get clued up on the sector or role you’re interested in moving into.  You’ll be surprised at how much you know.

Great leaders don’t do it alone

Mothers are naturally good at putting everyone first before themselves, but now is the time to be a little bit selfish, and even, wait for it, ask for help. Your partner, grandparents, and even girlfriends will be more than happy to look after the kids for a few hours while you put your plan of action together. Don’t rely purely on searching for jobs online, reach out to friends, get in touch with old colleagues, and more importantly, the community of wonderful, powerful mothers around you. There are countless career centres for women, blogs dedicated to working mums, and even career coaches who can guide you towards a job you actually look forward to waking up to.

Whether you’re looking to start your own business, go back to university, change industries or juggle multiple jobs at once – the point is, you can absolutely do it. After all, us working mums are professional multi-taskers with time-management skills and problem-solving abilities that most could only dream of.

Bite the bullet, get out of your comfort zone, and make it happen.

To coincide with the launch of the new Insignia Grand Sport, Vauxhall Motors has partnered with Management Today to produce Changing Lanes – a report looking at trends of the UK workforce


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