Posted on August 2016 By Speller International
Fatima Yusuf – SAP P2P/OpenText VIM Consultant
Returning to work after time home with your child can hold mixed emotions – what were you most apprehensive about? What were you most looking forward to?
I have worked in the SAP arena since the mid 1990s. Indeed, it was my ticket to coming to Australia and meeting my now husband so thank-you SAP! When I took a break to raise our children, I hadn’t worked for 4 years. Nick Speller called about a potential role, and I recall my mother was visiting from the UK at that time and our youngest of 3 children was only 6 months old. My initial inclination was to say no. I was apprehensive about workforce changes — like technology advances — and also the impact it would have on our kids with both parents working. But my mum, being the wise woman she is, advised me to think about it. Then I started to get quite excited about the prospect of working again. I was most looking forward to meeting new people and find out what had been happening in the SAP landscape in my absence.
What challenges have your faced?
The biggest challenge I faced was getting the family organised to clockwork precision, but once this part was done, I could relax and forget about it. I was also slightly apprehensive about my technical skill set and whether it was still current. Fortunately, with my first role after maternity leave, I joined a great team of people and that helped a lot with the transition. The technical stuff hadn’t really changed that much in my area, it was just the acronyms. And if you’re concerned about that, you can always do a short course to get you up to speed before you go back to work.
More recently, the challenges I have faced have been with my interactions with the less ‘seasoned’ recruitment companies. I found some recruitment people quite dismissive of my skills and not really interested once I mentioned the words ‘four day work week’. I found I could not get these people on board on what I had to offer, which was very frustrating.
What is your best piece of advice to a returning to work parent?
In my career I have been very fortunate to work with many working parents, who have been very inspirational. I have often sought guidance and advice from these people. I have also had the opportunity to work for visionary leaders who provided me with a flexible and nurturing work environment. In return, I can perform to the best of my professional ability to get the task done.
To my fellow working parents, if you’re struggling to “keep the plates spinning”, reach out to a friend or peer for advice. You’re not alone; we’ve all been there.
To potential employers and recruiters: embrace working parents and provide them with a flexible work environment. It really is a win-win situation for all.
My best piece of advice to a returning to work parent is to get your support network in place. Get as much of the housekeeping outsourced so the weekend really is family time, where you can relax with your family and not worry about doing a load of washing! Don’t feel guilty about the children either; kids are more resilient than you think. Swap war stories with your friends and peers; it’s always good to have a chuckle or cry.
Finally, do not underestimate your worth in the work place, and always remember to exercise and eat well. Good luck in your journey!
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