5 minute read
Q. I’ve always worked full-time in offices but gave up after having a child. I was sad as it was a job I loved but they couldn’t accommodate flexible working. I have since worked at my child’s preschool for five years. It’s convenient, and fits in with school hours, but I feel unhappy there. I struggle with generating activities as I naturally prefer structure and having set tasks.
I am good with kids and enjoy their company and my ‘key’ children flourish under my care, but my hours keep getting reduced, and I can only conclude that I’m not valued. Should I grin and bear it or look for something else? Name supplied
A. One of the symptoms of feeling stuck is that our thinking becomes black and white. It sounds as if you see a choice between being there for your kids and feeling happy in your own work. I would argue that a mother who is flourishing in her own life has more energy to share with her children, and is setting them up to pursue fulfilment themselves.
If your current job is making you feel less confident, then the challenge becomes how to give yourself a mini-boost so that you can see more possibilities. One step would be to reconnect with what it was you loved in your old job – was it the people, the type of work, the environment, or perhaps the purpose? Walk yourself through a typical day in the job you loved and identify which parts gave you a buzz.
Although that particular job could not offer flexibility five years ago, similar roles may have emerged with a friendlier structure. This three-step process works for most change: first, look for the bright spots and move towards them; second, talk to at least one ally who believes in you; third, remind yourself of your resources – you managed to get your current job from scratch; what process did you use and how can you do something similar now?
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Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email [email protected], with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.