I’ve had a baby, now what?
Rebecca Levene is a career change confidence coach and mum who, aged 40, after having her son and returning to work in publishing sales – discovered she hated it. A few years on, she’s a fully–fledged life coach who helps other lost souls rediscover their career paths (and themselves) and regain a fulfilling and inspiring way of working. Here are her top tops for how to cope when your job doesn’t fit your life anymore…
I have had a baby, now what? Three tips for managing job change after motherhood.
Nobody tells you about the slow-moving, secret ripple effects of having a baby. You get told about all the changes to your body, your lifestyle, your sleep, your relationships but nobody talks about how it will affect your feelings about what you do for a living.
Of course, there is all the conversation about whether to go back to work or stay at home, going part time, the cost of childcare, paternity leave rights. The debate rages on, certainly in the UK, about flexible working and long may that continue. But nobody really warns mums about how their feelings will change, on the inside, about their job.
Having a baby makes everything look different, the cliched phrase ‘your perspectives change’ is over-used for a reason – because it is bloody true.
If you were having doubts and wobbles about your job pre-baby, you can sure as hell be certain that they will come back to bite you tenfold once the baby is out. If you were trying to bury those feelings that there is something more out there for you, something better, more fulfilling, more exciting, more you, they won’t stay buried for long post-baby. Because here’s the thing – having a baby exposes you, in every possible way. It exposes your fierce protective side, it exposes your vulnerability, it exposes what is important to you, it exposes your true emotions because you no longer have the energy to keep any of that hidden anymore. So they come tumbling out, maybe not to everyone but certainly to those who know you best and most definitely to yourself.
So what do you do if you realise that once you have become a mum you don’t want to work in your previous job anymore, for whatever reason? How do you get your head round the thought of changing jobs? How do you deal with the hysterical inner voice screaming at you to stop being crazy and just stay where it’s safe and familiar?
Here are my three top tips, from a mum who pivoted in her career at 40 with a toddler in tow and armed only with the knowledge that staying in her current job was way more terrifying that leaving it.
Take the time to work out what your job needs to have to make you happy
This is not something we get taught at school or when we speak to careers advisers, we had to put a label on our chosen career and then we worked towards that job title. How often have you sat down and worked out what is really important to you about your work? How do you want your work to make you feel? What does it need to have for you to function well, to feel happy and fulfilled? Motherhood has added a whole new dimension to what your career needs to be about and so now is the perfect time to get super clear on what your job needs to do for you, outside of the financial aspects. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will tick all the boxes, but you can aim for that.
Remember that you don’t need to make huge changes in order to change
When people talk about changing jobs, they very often take themselves from where they are now to a distant future that seems impossibly far away, panic, do nothing and stay stuck. Change is still change even if the steps are small and incremental. It is amazing how even the smallest of changes can have positive effects. If you are thinking about changing career, what small things can you do right now to move you one step closer to where you want to be? Write that email, rewrite that CV, talk to that person, research that role, volunteer at that place, attend that seminar, write that first blog post even if you never post it. Whatever it is, make the commitment to a small step and the big ones will inevitably follow.
Manage that inner critic
We all have the hysterical voice in our heads that hates change, loves the comfort zone and comes into full voice when we decide to try and change jobs. It is about being aware of how we talk to ourselves and questioning the negative stories that play on a loop in our heads about why we can’t or shouldn’t do something. Are these stories true? How likely are they to happen and what if the opposite was true instead? Our internal monologues want to protect us, our fears and self-doubts are perfectly normal, but they will keep us stuck unless we learn to dial them down. As the fabulous Jen Sincero says in her book ‘You are a Badass’ (read it if you haven’t already) “On the other side of your fear is your freedom.” And I could not agree more.
Who is Rebecca Levene?
Rebecca is our That Works For Me Self Discovery coach. Helping parents like us find their purpose in life and jump over those career barriers (self imposed nine times out of ten she adds) that hold us back from making real and lasting change in our lives. “If you want to do what lights you up for a living then you can,” she says. “My life coaching is down to earth, honest and fuss free. It’s for the curious and the brave and for mums who are just fed up with feeling just a little bit shit all of the time. You have the power to change your life in any way you choose to. If you are ready (or nearly ready) to turn the page my darling, lets talk.”
You can book a free 30-minute taster session with Rebecca when you sign up with That Works For Me via the Benefits area of your account.