I have now been at my new job as a Content & Community Strategist for two whole weeks and, although a challenge to learn so much so quickly, I am loving it. Nothing quite like a new job to get your teeth into!
One of the things I asked for when I was in negotiations with my boss, was the opportunity to work flexibly, ie. from home 2 days per week (meetings permitting.) I would offer my own flexibility in that these 2 days would work around the requirements of the team and our clients, but I just felt that at this point in mine and Dexter’s lives, it was important I was around more, even if I was at home working, at least I was here.
It sounds such a simple thing, and one that perhaps I have taken for granted when I have been unemployed, but let me relay a brief conversation I had with Dexter this morning. After having dropped him off at school this morning, no breakfast club necessary today, he asked if I would be able to pick him up after school:
Dexter: Can you pick me up after school today Mum?
Me: Yes, I can today love, I’m working from home.
Cue punch to the air …
Dexter: YES!!! GET IN!!!
Me: I take it that’s OK by you??
Dexter: I love it when you collect me. Means I can spend more time with you.
Think my heart officially melted right then and there.
Now, Dexter and I both know that once he gets in from school, I’ll be back on my laptop working and he’ll be playing FIFA on the PS3. Oh, and throwing around the new inflatable bed we bought for Ben (but that’s another story. Sigh …)
But I’m here. He can see me, cuddle me if he wants to, pester me for food – all the usual things. I’m more ‘present.’
It’s hard being a working lone parent and not only that, Dexter doesn’t see his Dad … so I’m pretty much all he’s got (my family aside.) I just got to that point in my life recently where I wanted to push ahead with my career (which I’m doing,) but still be a visible presence in Dexter’s life.
Believe me, it’s not easy keeping everyone happy (as I’m sure you can all relate to,) but I’ve had to put the needs of myself and Dexter to the top of the list. Thankfully, my new employer understands that I’ll work during my own time, whether that’s for clients or personal development, and that I’m pretty much always on call – we have that respect, trust and understanding already … it makes a nice change if I’m honest, so it’s a win/win – he gets a hardworking and happy member of staff, and I can feel like I’m balancing the work/family life a little better.
It’s a work in progress. I began work at 7am today but will take Dexter for a Costa after school, because one thing I’ve come to realise as I’ve got older, is that the little things count. Whether it’s picking Dexter up from school, or a good friend sending you a book in the post just because they think you’ll like it .. they’re so much more important that fancy cars and millions in the bank.
Good job really!
So, my lunchbreak is over and it’s back to the day job. Today, that just happens to be downstairs on my work laptop!
Flexible working – does it work? For now, the answer is a resolute yes.