Women Making Work Work – Gemma’s Story

women making work work

This weeks Women making Work Work features Gemma who has been able to make job sharing work and tells us all about her experience here.  Gemma describes herself as a tea-drinking, chocolate biscuit obsessed accountant, blogger and mum of two. 

Grab a cuppa and have a read of the business, career and blogging tips she shares for people building a flexible income around their family on her blog, The Work Life Blend (www.theworklifeblend.com) or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theworklifeblend.

Tell me a little about you

Hi, I’m Gemma! I live in beautiful Dorset with my husband Paul and our two children who are five and two years old. I’m an accountant and work for a charity which I love (I’m bit of a geek like that!). 

I also have a blog called The Work Life Blend (www.theworklifeblend.com ) which was inspired by the difficulty that mums, in particular, face trying to build an income around their families. I share lots of business, career and blogging tips.  

women making work work

Tell me about how you have made your work work for you 

When I had my second baby, another woman in my office also went off on maternity leave at the same time. We are both qualified accountants and we had both talked about wanting to go part time when we returned to work.

We already got on really well and enjoyed working together so we decided to put together a proposal to job share, splitting the role evenly between us. We pitched the proposal to our manager ensuring that we addressed any possible concerns he might have.

We were so excited (not to mention nervous!) when the proposal was accepted.

I get to spend half the week as an accountant using my hard earned qualification and the other half enjoying (well, mostly!) time with the kids.

Why did you make this change?

For me, I wanted to spend more time at home but at the same time, I didn’t want to completely give up my career.

I wanted to continue in a role that I found interesting and challenging but still gave me the flexibility to fit it in alongside looking after my family.

I’m really lucky that I work for quite a forward looking company that promotes flexible working.  

What is the best thing about your working situation?

I love that I get to have a bit of “me-time” doing a job I really enjoy. I’m able to use my brain, contribute to the family finances and have a chat with proper grown ups about the latest episode of Cold Feet. I feel really lucky to get to spend time with my children.

It’s also been so great job sharing with someone that I now consider to be a friend. It’s lovely to know that you have the support of someone who is in a similar situation to you. We usually have competitions over who is the most sleep deprived due to our little sleep thieves! We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders especially when we have a crisis of confidence or a mum-brain meltdown.  

What isn’t so great about your working situation?

At first, I think we both felt the pressure to make it work and to prove ourselves. But we did and we’re so pleased! We hit all of our objectives and had an excellent appraisal.

It’s a steep learning curve for everyone – us, our colleagues, and our manager. Just simple things that, as a full time employee, you take for granted. Things like how should we split the role, should we have the same objectives, should we have the same appraisal rating? 

It’s been a work in progress but I love it!

How do you balance your personal life with your working life?                                                                                                       

At the moment I’m kind of blending the two together and it’s brilliant that I am given the flexibility to do that. Although I have two set days in the office, I don’t switch off completely when I’ve left. I check my emails when my daughter naps during the day and often work on a Saturday morning while my husband looks after the kids.

At the moment that works really well for me and we both do whatever is needed to do a good job and get the work done.

Having the opportunity to work flexibly inspired my blog…

Let’s just say that my first experience of returning to work after maternity leave wasn’t great. After speaking to friends, I realised that this seemed to be the norm rather than the exception! It’s so hard to juggle work and being a mum.

I wanted to try and help mums build an income flexibly, from home around their family by sharing business, career and blogging tips at The Work Life Blend 

women making work work

 

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