Babies are bad for careers

Statistically speaking, as a woman one of the worst things you can do for your career is have a baby.

It’s a sobering thought.

Despite being aware of this, I am disheartened each time a woman comes to me and tells me that their confidence has plummeted since becoming a parent and that they are struggling to make the children/work equation work.

Working mothers are stretching themselves thin at work and at home and feel like they are failing at both. Their struggle though does not reflect their capabilities.

The impact is personal but the issues are structural. 

Most workplaces are geared to meet the needs of working parents and continue to be set up based on outdated, biased assumptions. And it’s women’s careers that suffer for it.

I supported women with PhDs who have advanced to senior levels and were ready to give it all up and find a ‘Saturday job’ because they were tired of the stress. I have met incredibly talented, highly skilled women who have taken extended breaks from their work because the stress was more than they wanted to live with but now they’re struggling to return.

Thankfully change is afoot with flexible working campaigns, lobbying in the workplace, shared parental leave, returnships and more supporting women to have the career they have worked so hard for, as well supporting fathers to be able play a greater role in the lives of their children.

There remains a long way to go but it is increasingly possible to make work work. It starts with knowing what you want from your working life, which is why I am hosting a workshop on 5 July to support you to work out your career vision and develop an action plan to make it happen.

Early bird tickets available until 22 June https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/career-vision-workshop-tickets-46913060226

You deserve a fulfilling and inspiring career

You deserve a fulfilling and inspiring career

Deserve’s a strong word isn’t it? Sounds icky and entitled to think that you * deserve* inspiring and fulfilling work.

I don't agree. It's not entitled and it’s definitely achievable.

So often women (mostly mothers) tell me that they’re frustrated with their jobs, bored even. They’re work’s not working for them but they don’t want to rock the boat. They have flexibility (ish), their boss is more or less accommodating and generally their job works for their family for the time being.

Lack of fulfilment is simply the price they pay for time with their children.

Am'bitch'ion: the dirty word, it's time to reclaim

Am'bitch'ion: the dirty word, it's time to reclaim

What’s the first word you think of when I say ‘ambition’? 

Your response is very likely to depend on your gender. Women are more likely to have a negative or ambivalent response than men. They are more likely to play down their ambition.

Women experience a degree of internal conflict when answering the question, born out of a tension between our feminine conditioning and what we believe it means to be ambitious.

Why 'having it all' is an unhelpful idea and what to strive for instead

Why 'having it all' is an unhelpful idea and what to strive for instead

"Is it possible to do well at work and be a good mother?"

This is one of the questions I hear most frequently from clients and friends. It underlies all of the work I do.  To paraphrase, can we ‘have it all’?

I dislike the gender politics of the question but sadly it reflects the reality of very many women with children. I have two responses. 

First, it’s simply not a helpful question. 

Be courageous: 7 steps to being yourself at work

Be courageous: 7 steps to being yourself at work

Today is Character Day. (Not to be confused with Roald Dahl Day, also September 13 this year, hence BFGs running amok all over social media!). Just as it sounds, this is a day devoted to talking about character and the importance of developing character strengths for resilience. Fitting then for the last of my #40DaysOfMum blogs and talking about being yourself.

How discovering your tribe will transform your career

How discovering your tribe will transform your career

‘You’re very creative Emma.’  A senior colleague once said this to me. It definitely wasn’t a compliment. Thankfully I have a sense of humour.

Being seen and heard are the most basic human needs. When we aren’t, it’s painful. But this is exactly what many of us experience every day in our work lives. We are not seen. Our opinions and ideas fall on deaf ears. And it hurts. We end up questioning ourselves. We feel less than.

Even worse, there are those of us who ARE seen, judged for who we are and found wanting. Ouch. We know our ideas are good – if only someone would listen.

6 things fogging up your career vision

6 things fogging up your career vision

Are you suffering from career FOMO? Fear of moving on, that is. The alarm goes on Monday and there’s that lurching feeling. Talk over dinner has been stuck on the same ‘I can’t do this any longer’ theme for some time now. Your friends politely segue onto other topics for fear of having the career conversation again.

We’ve all been there. Feeling stuck is the absolute pits. It’s also NOT necessary.

Imagine taking all the energy you’re investing in being stuck – looking inwards – and dedicating it to looking forwards. A clear vision is the difference between fulfilment and just…well…complaining.

Walking your why: how to know yourself, stop chewing grit and get the right job

Walking your why: how to know yourself, stop chewing grit and get the right job

Are you spending your days on things that matter to you? Or are you out of love with your job, angry and resentful at URGENT evening emails, directionless, unfulfilled but feeling trapped by needing the income?

These are such common feelings. And what I see in my clients is an equally common cause: somehow these women, mothers mostly, have compromised on what they value.

And when values are compromised, we can get stuck. We start saying ‘yes’ when we ache to say ‘no’.

Thought experiments: 9 things to tickle your brain while waiting for the kids

Thought experiments: 9 things to tickle your brain while waiting for the kids

It’s time to get curious about yourself. 

Your daughter’s learning to windsurf – and having a fantastic time; the rest of your tribe are having a diving lesson; and you, the nominated driver, are waiting. It’s perfect opportunity for a spot of self-discovery on the hop.

So here are a few thought experiments you can do while no one is asking for anything or otherwise sending you into sensory overload.

#Talktoemma Competition

Are you a mum who’s facing challenges in your career that you like support to unravel? Why not enter my competition to win a ‘coaching intensive’. That is, a half-day 1-2-1 session where we can address whatever issues you like about your work life.

Everyone who enters will be entitled to a 15% discount on any of my coaching packages if they are booked and started before 20 October 2017 (that’s half-term in London).

To enter comment on this post, using the hashtag #TalkToEmma. The closing date is Friday 8 September 2017.

I’m required to let you know that terms and conditions apply.

40DaysOfMum: 11 great reads for the beach, the pool or on your commute

40DaysOfMum: 11 great reads for the beach, the pool or on your commute

Summer reads. Do you look back fondly to lying on the beach immersed in a fat novel? I know I do. The idea of taking a book (much less books) on holiday is almost laughable once you’ve got kids. But it is worth doing, even if you have to lock yourself in the loo to get past the front cover. Reading is a great way to give yourself a break (check out my blog about self-care), and learn something at the same time.

Why wine and Wotsits are not a busy mum's best friend

Why wine and Wotsits are not a busy mum's best friend

Sound familiar? You’re late to pick up the children. You’ve just run out of the office shouting instructions over your shoulder with promises to call. The train is hot and overcrowded. You didn’t make it to the gym. In fact, you haven’t been for the last couple of weeks. You cancelled dinner with your friend last night and you’ve been working until midnight all week. Right now other than getting home, your only thought is for the large glass of wine you’ll pour yourself when you finally stumble through the front door. That is, if the train was actually moving.

And breathe.