When I was a kid I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up – a journalist. I never wavered in this desire and by the time I was 18 I’d found an apprenticeship to that effect.
Spring forward 14 years and now, if you ask me the same question, I’d have to answer ‘I don’t know’. My daughter starts school in September and with my son entering year 2, that mean for the first time in six years I am not needed from the hours of 9am until 3pm.
So what do I want to do?
Good question. I haven’t got a bloody clue.
I have worked for myself as a PR consultant and copywriter for the last two years and whilst that has its benefits – not least the flexibility – it has many downsides too (no fixed income, no office colleagues, no holiday or sick pay).
So I suppose I’m looking for a job.
But the problem, which is faced by many, many parents when looking for a job at this time in their life, is that the children are only out of the house for six hours. With my husband commuting to London I don’t wish to have a full time job which takes me away from the house for 12 hours a day, and my kids in wrap-around childcare.
That leaves me looking for a part time job, which is flexible enough to accommodate any insets or child sick days, but is aligned to my skill set (journalist/PR/media manager/copywriter).
On numerous searches it seems that I’m asking the impossible. And when I asked a company whether they would consider taking two people on for a full time job, as in a job share, I was told it would be impossible as there were ‘hundreds’ of graduates out there who could do the job.
So there we have it. Despite the fact I can bring an amazing amount of experience to any of the roles I’m looking at – and honestly, if I went back to my first job as a journalist I would be so much better at the job now than I did then – I can’t apply because they don’t fit in with having children. That’s despite gaining a BA Hons degree over the last six years, and keeping my skills up to date by continuing to work.
And if I did choose to go full time, I’d do the one thing which I’ve always said I wouldn’t do – let someone else bring my children up and miss out on a million and one little things which happen in their days.
So what do I want to do when I grow up? Turns out it doesn’t matter. Because whatever I ‘want’ to do, isn’t the question. It’s ‘what’s available to me’ and that’s a pretty frustrating situation to find myself in.