I am a full-time working mother with two children (4 and 8). My youngest just started school and has a hard time settling due to the long hours.
I work as an Account Manager for a vendor (financial service company) and sometimes have to travel within Europe, but mostly only for a day or so. This, of course, puts a lot of stress on my family and I always feel guilty leaving hubby to do the school run and the bedtime routine, as he also works full time. We have a very good childminder. However, my kids would benefit from a nanny, but, of course, a nanny is far more expensive, so it is a catch 22. My question is now what industry/career path can I follow without doing something that is a step backwards from what I am currently doing? My career is important to me, however not important enough to be constantly in a rush, struggling to get time off for school time and not being able to create a routine for my kids that includes rest and quality time (homework, for instance, is tough, as everything gets crammed into the weekends, which are also filled with other activities). I have recently looked into charity roles, where client relationship management is also required on a fundraising level, but I wonder what else I could do? I can’t afford to take a big pay cut, but I could take a small one, if it means I can get home at a decent time and regularly work from home.
Have you already tried to negotiate with your employer to de-stress some aspects of your job? That might be the easiest path if you have a helpful, supportive manager. Are there other posts in the organisation that are more family-friendly and as prestigious, for which you’d be a good “fit”?
You might be able to improve your work life balance in several other different ways.
You could find yourself a more flexible, marginally less demanding Account Manager job, at least until your children are older. Very many different sectors need Accounts Managers and quite a few of them are much less demanding of their managers than the financial services sector is. Perhaps the easiest way of exploring this option would be to review the job ads produced by a specialised Accounts Manager recruiter (Google for them) and think about which sectors and employers are likely to be most interested in you.
Think laterally – as a financial services client relationships specialist you know about marketing / selling professional and business services (eg insurance, legal services , marketing, utilities, etc) to clients. While it’s always easier to go from one job to the next in the same sector, much of your knowledge and skills will be highly transferable. You would be of particular interest to an employer whose key clients straddle several different sectors. Your ability to negotiate the job you want may be better if you target medium-size companies rather than the largest, well known ones.
You could also opt for a more generalist role – that of Customer Services Manager, the company’s representative when dealing with all sizes of customer not just the key accounts. These roles normally involve supervision of a section or a department, participation in the wider management of the employer’s sales and marketing operations, staff and systems management, minimal travelling and standard hours of work.