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Career Change When Pregnant

There are many reasons why you might consider a career change when pregnant. If you’re on the outside looking in on an expectant mother thinking about changing jobs you might think it an odd idea – why complicate your life during one of the most transforming experiences through choice?

Well, there are a number of reasons for considering a career change when pregnant. Here are a few of them:

– You’re looking for a family friendly employer
– Looking for less hours
– You want a job closer to home so you spend less time commuting
– You are looking for more change
– Your job isn’t floating your boat anymore
– Your priorities or values have shifted
– You are worried about your health and safety at work
– You may have insecure work or be facing redundancy
– You may be thinking about giving up work for a few years to bring up your children

Whatever the reason for considering a career change when pregnant, it is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly if the choice is with you.

Beware that other workplaces seem to have more perks than where you work now but in reality they don’t stack up when weighed against the disadvantages. In some workplaces it may be that an employee is not entitled to certain maternity benefits until they have completed a specified period in that employment, so considering changing jobs on that basis would not be worth it due to not being entitled to those benefit on day one of employment.

The employer you are thinking of taking a job with may offer flexible working or the option to work at home. Do they also expect more hours than you are paid for though? Many teachers would relate to this, as they are seen to work term time only but are expected to be up to date with marking work and preparing lessons outside of the contact time with the students, which isn’t always factored in.

Looking for work takes up time and energy and when you are having a baby, you may not have much of either – especially if this isn’t your first baby. If you’ve been pregnant before you will know how tiring it is and if you’re working full time at the same time this can be difficult.

You need to consider your rights when applying for work. Have you asked yourself if it is fair to the new employer to take so much time off just after starting a new job? This is a moral conundrum as in law an employer has no right to ask this question, although in reality this may not always happen. I have certainly experienced situations where I have been asked my plans for having children in an interview and I know I am not alone due to my client work. From a moral perspective it is good practice to discuss this with an employer once they have offered the job. It will help you work out if practically it will work for you, and it will help the employer plan for your absence. If you are being brought in to troubleshoot a problem then it may have an impact on the business when you are off work, so it is fair to explore this with an employer.

It’s important to know your rights if things do go wrong so you can be armed with the facts.

Pregnant employees have four main rights:

– Paid time off for antenatal care
– Maternity leave
– Maternity pay or maternity allowance
– Protection against unfair treatment, discrimination and dismissal

You can find out more about your rights here.

If you want help to look for a new job, whether or not you are expecting a bundle of joy, you can contact us here.

Career-change-when-pregnant

Resign Gracefully

Resign with Grace

When you are offered a new job it can be tempting to stick two fingers up at the old one and the people you haven’t been seeing eye to eye with and skip off into the sunset. It’s probably not a good idea though because unless your new job is on the moon and you aren’t ever coming back, the chances are you will see your ex-colleagues in the future and it may get really awkward. So resign gracefully and keep your work mates sweet if you can!

Imagine bumping into your past boss at a network or conference when you are with your new colleagues? Do you avoid eye contact and hope they don’t speak to you? Or do you pretend nothing has happened and you’ve always been best friends? Well that might work but it doesn’t feel very authentic. Probably the best outcome is not to get into that situation in the first place and to keep it professional when you leave.

If you don’t act professionally when you leave your job it may impact on your reference, your future job prospects and your reputation.

There may of course be situations that mean that by the time you leave you aren’t on good terms with your colleagues anyhow, but that’s for another post!

So here are Cygnet’s top tips to resign gracefully.

1. Wait until you get an offer in writing from your new employer. If you resign before you have a job offer in writing you could end up without a job.

2. Check your contract and make sure you give the appropriate amount of notice. This should be in writing and given at the same time as you give verbal notice.

3. Keep your letter polite and explain what you have gained from your time in this job, don’t just focus on the reasons you want to leave. There may be an opportunity to give feedback about why you are moving on but it’s best to do this if asked. If you are asked, be balanced and constructive – don’t just say it’s the worst job you’ve ever had!

4. Tell your manager that you’re leaving before anyone else there. It’s the professional way to behave and you don’t want Suzie in accounts to tell them before you do.

5. Hand over your work – it’s important that your work is completed and that any clients and projects have a transition that works for both sides. Make sure you aren’t the reason for any issues.

6. Be nice! Don’t criticise or be overly negative. If there are genuine negative reasons for you leaving then address them through the proper channels.

7. Work hard. It’s important that you get all your work done before you go (if it’s realistic to be able to do so) There is nothing worse for those left behind to find a pile of files that haven’t been written up / followed up / dealt with correctly after someone’s departure.

8. If you have decided to leave and are offered an incentive to stay, be straight with the person offering the opportunity – whether or not that is to consider staying or your decision to leave has been made.

9. Say Thank You to everyone who has helped you achieve your goals in the company. You never know when you will meet them again and your grace is remembered and repaid!

10. Keep sensitive information confidential. It will help you maintain trust with past and future employers.

I hope this article helps you to resign gracefully, and if you have any advice to add please do leave them in the comments. We love to hear from our readers!

When you are ready to find your new job please do get in touch with us here.

Now, Have You Got Any Questions For Us?

It's difficult to think of questions to ask at the end of an interview, but so important to make sure you stand out from everyone else being interviewed. It can give you the edge - here are some potential questions to help you, and to inspire you to think of some of your own.

Read more

Job Rejection and Reflection.

Job Rejection and Reflection.

 

 

Today, I would like to focus on how to overcome rejection when you apply for a job and either you don’t hear back or you get an interview and are unsuccessful.  When applying for work it is beneficial to have an idea of what sort of work you would like and what sort of company you would like to work for, but then be flexible enough in your search so that if something comes up that you hadn’t thought of you can match it against those criteria and decide if you will apply.  Its not a good idea to focus on particular job titles as these can be misleading and may not be what you are expecting.  Its good to try not to get too focussed on one particular job that is advertised (sometimes easier said than done) and its not a good idea to be too narrow in your search, or too broad.

Once you have applied for some jobs it is sensible to keep on searching and applying for jobs that interest you.  I have worked with clients who have applied for one or two jobs, and then they sit back and watch the phone or letter box on and just after the closing date, becoming more and more depressed if they don’t hear back and sometimes very angry that the employer hasn’t even responded to them.  Unfortunately this approach is not only demoralising and demotivating – it is counter productive and you are much more likely to succeed in your job search if you carry on searching and applying, keeping good records of those you have applied for and moving on to the next application form or CV adaptation.

If you have an interview and are told you were unsuccessful, it is good practice and often advice to ask for feedback.  This can help you in the future if you are given constructive reasons why you were not chosen for the job.  However, I would advise that it is good to think about the reasons given and if they are constructive, accurate and based in fact.  I have had an experience where I was told I missed something out of a presentation but no examples were given of what I had missed so was left without anything solid to build any improvements on.  Of course this may not be the real reason for rejection.  It could be something else that they would rather not tell you about for whatever reason that might be, it might be that they had someone in mind for the role already or that there was nothing you could improve on but they had to make a decision and this time it wasn’t you.

It is good to reflect on the interview and if you can constructively criticise it yourself.  Often we can tell when we could have answered a question more thoroughly or thought of a better scenario of where  we have demonstrated a skill or quality.  Think of these examples and write them down as they might come up again in another interview.  Don’t beat yourself up though – in the moment when we are being interviewed we are often nervous and don’t always perform at our best.  Each interview we encounter is good practice for the next time we need to go through this and hopefully each time we can improve on the last one.  The more interviews experienced, the less nervous you will feel (and if this is not the case then I recommend that you access some support around this.)

Eventually, if you have your technique well honed and you have the skills needed you will be successful in changing your job.  It is a matter of time, and a numbers game.  The more applications you make the more chance you have of securing that role.  If you take the rejection personally and give up, this is obviously not going to help you get a new job.  It will of course take patience and resilience to achieve this goal, but keep going! Remember there are many people who apply for a job usually, with only one vacancy available.  If you are getting interviews you are doing well and will be successful .  If not you need to look at why you aren’t – do you need more training?  Experience?  Do you need to look at the information you are putting into the application forms?

There is help available for each stage of this process, so make sure you get it.  If you need help to stay on track ask someone you know to hold you to account for the number of jobs you apply for etc.  There is no need to do this alone – it is a difficult and time consuming time, so don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t succeed – remember each application you fill in is taking you a step closer to your goal!

How to Switch Careers

How to Switch Careers

This week’s blog will focus on how to make a career change, following a request by one of my followers on Facebook.  I don’t know if you’ve had this happen to you, but I personally have applied for quite a number of jobs over the past 10 – 15 years or so mainly due to short term funding in the voluntary sector where I have worked.  I have found that the jobs I have been successful in being offered are usually closely aligned with the sort of work I have been doing in the recent past, in a previous role.  The more people who apply for the job, the more they seem to focus on experience – whether their priority is with the client group or maybe a database they want you to use without having to give training.  The reason often given for not being offered a job is that someone else had more experience than me.  The problem is, how am I to gain that experience unless I am given the opportunity?  It is definitely not an easy issue to get round, especially if you have commitments to a mortgage, to paying off a loan, or to raising your family it can make changing career harder.   So if you are in a career that is not well suited to your values – you took it because it was well paid /  it offered you good job security /  it was what your father did / you fell into it by accident –  then what do you do?  Well the answer is that it depends.
I would start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many years am I prepared to work towards my chosen career?
  • Can I afford to be without an income for the duration of retraining or is there an option for part time learning?
  • How motivated am I to do this?
  • Is it the right time?
  • If I am miserable at work, are there any ways I can minimise the factors that make me miserable?
  • Am I prepared to volunteer to gain experience?
  • Are there many opportunities in the career path that I would like to enter into, or is it very competitive?
  • Am I prepared to start in an entry level role again and work my way up?
  • If I have children, how will this impact on my decisions?

There may be a few more questions depending on your own personal circumstances, and this is before you have even explored the possibilities of career options.  Add in the fact that if you ask other people for help they will no doubt all have opinions – and let’s not be too hard on them they want to help! These suggestions can be really useful, or they can drown out our values and our inner voice so that we get so confused we really don’t know what to do or where to turn.  If you are facing this dilemma, please do get in touch.  I can help you work through your confusion and make some decisions based on what your own values are, to help you be true to yourself.  Whilst the suggestions of others can be helpful at times, you only have one life – why waste it on making other people happy?
If you want to go for it and would like some help to get where you want to go, please contact us.

Seize the day!

The Benefits of Independent Careers Advice

The Benefits of Independent Careers Advice

At the start of my career path, I went to a local college for some help to enroll onto a course.  I had decided I wanted to study childcare,  I was very young, and didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career and someone made a suggestion which seemed as good as other course I could do at the time.  So there I was at the college, waiting to be seen by someone.  I ended up having a meeting with a member of staff who failed to help me with childcare and attempted to get me to enroll on a different course than the one I had told him I wanted to be on.  He didn’t listen to my needs and seemed to have an agenda which didn’t match my own.  As this happened about 18 years ago, I am a little vague on the detail now, but I will never forget how this treatment made me feel.  I ended up trying desperately to hold back the tears in the waiting area as I didn’t want anyone to see me cry in public.  I then ended up talking to someone else who happened to be a tutor on a childcare course and pointed me in the right direction.  However, despite the kindness of several members of staff I wasn’t given the correct information about childcare and the free places and to cut a long story short was unable to access those places at the start of the course.  Had I been given the correct information in the first instance, the situation would have been much less stressful.  I know now I am a careers adviser that I would have benefited from independent careers advise which might have helped me get to my chosen vocation in a more direct route than I took.  I completed the childcare course and decided (eventually) that it wasn’t the right career for me and went round the houses for years – joking along the way that I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up!

So the point of that tale was that I really would have benefited at that point from someone who cared about my aspirations, listened to my needs and helped me explore my values and aspirations.   I am aware of other advice available around career changes, but much of the advice is there to encourage people onto a particular training course, or is mandatory as the government tries to support people back to work.

Most people at some point in their lives would benefit from independent careers guidance.  This can be on the start of their career path, where they are struggling to advance their career, facing a redundancy situation or thinking of retirement.  I believe that people who have access to independent careers advice will be empowered to tap into their own aspirations quicker than those who don’t.  We can have very well meaning people in our lives who can muddy the water when making decisions as they are helpful by making suggestions to us.  Sometimes this can prevent us from listening to our inner voices and tapping into our values and dreams.  I provide a space where open questions and a non judgmental attitude support you to find your own path, one that is right for you, your aspirations and your current circumstances.

If you would like independent careers guidance, contact Kelly today on 07881294894 or email Kelly@cygnetnortheast.com

Returning to Work After a Gap

Returning to Work After a Gap

It can be difficult to return to employment following a gap for any reason – whether that is because you have been looking after someone (bringing up a family or supporting a family member due to ill health), because you have suffered a health problem yourself, or if you have been working in a career and decide you would like to pursue a different direction.

Without recent experience in the field that you would like to move into, or without an idea of what it is you want to do it can be difficult to know where to start.  There are many options open to you, and your path will be determined by a number of factors.  These include your current financial situation, how long you want to work towards your chosen field (are you prepared to retrain or volunteer for a few years?), what your current skills are and what your values are.  Its also wise to think about the opportunities that are available to you.  Is it realistic to want to be the next Prime Minister?  Well someone has to be but it’s important to know what might be involved in this and whether you think it is worth the effort.

Having a fixed idea of what you want to do can be helpful as it means you will be able to plan the steps you need to take quite easily, however there are disadvantages to this approach if you don’t have any flexibility and you are not prepared to change course if opportunities arise on the way to your chosen goal.  However on the other hand not having any idea of where you want to go and being swayed by every potential opportunity that comes your way can be a massive barrier too.  This is due to having too many opportunities and not focusing on any one thing, you are less likely to achieve any of them.

So the point of this article really is to point out that it is good to have a plan, but a plan that is flexible and one that is dynamic based on developments of the situation that invariably come up in your life.  If you don’t know where to start, or you just need a little bit of help, I can help you to get onto the right path and help you to stay focused.  Sometimes, just knowing that there is someone there asking how you are getting on with your plan can help you to stay focused and make sure you do all the things you say you are going to do!

If you need help to decide what next, or how to be successful in finding a job after taking a career break for whatever reason get in touch – Kelly@cygnetnortheast.com or phone 07881294894. Or you can use our contact form.  We can help you to explain why you haven’t been in work in a positive way.