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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Finding a job that fits around family life | My story and why more needs to be done

*This is a collaborative post

What are your chances of getting a part-time or flexible job? Take this quick quiz and find out. 

When Harry and Heidi were both young, I was really pretty lucky when it came to childcare. We lived a short walk away from Steve's parents (and his mum was retired and always happy to help) and my mum worked at home as a foster carer and childminder and was also available whenever needed. I decided that I wanted to work part time and luckily, my employers at the time were pretty flexible and we were able to work something out that suited us both. But then things changed.......

How to find a part time job that fits around family life. Join Hire Me My Way's campaign

When Jack was born we moved to Cramlington and my mum started an employed role as a carer and was no longer able to help as much with childcare. Steve and I were barely earning above minimum wage and we definitely could not afford childcare for three children along with all of our other bills. We really didn't know what to do.

If you are in a similar situation, please take this short quiz which will provide you with feedback on how easy/difficult it will be for you to find a part time job or switch to part time hours as well as provide helpful advice on what to do to improve your chances.

I was lucky and I was able to find a job that allowed me to work 2 x 12 hour shifts over the weekend and stay at home with my three children Monday-Friday. Steve and his parents would look after Harry, Heidi and Jack over the weekend and although it worked well, I did start to feel like I was missing out on a lot. Imagine spending just 5 weekends a year with your family - it's horrible and not something I wanted to continue. I didn't feel like I had a choice though as I couldn't find a single job that allowed me to work 9am-11am when Jack was at nursery or fit flexibly around Steve's 2 weekly shift pattern. It turns out I'm not alone and according to Hire Me My Way, there are 400,000 unemployed people who are unable to accept a job unless they can work part time/flexibly. It's really tough when you have kids and commitments.

As I was at home Monday-Friday, I was able to start building up my blog and start turning it into a business. I learned more about the earning potential of blogging and it seemed like the perfect solution - with three children at home, perhaps working towards being fully self-employed and working at home would be the answer for us.

After a bit of research and a pep-talk from my friends, I decided to formally ask my employer if I could work flexibly and reduce my hours. They agreed and over a period of around 16 months, I gradually reduced my working hours until I was only working 8 hours on a Sunday. Again, I was very lucky that my employer agreed to reduced part time & flexible hours. I often wonder what would have happened if they'd have turned my application down. My blog certainly wouldn't be where it is today that's for sure and I could still be working 2 x 12 hour shifts with no quality family time and feeling pretty trapped.

How to find a part time job that fits around family life. Join Hire Me My Way's campaign

The Hire Me My Way campaign really strikes a chord with me. If I hadn't have been able to start a career as a self-employed blogger, I would have been trapped working hours that weren't at all family friendly with no way out. 1.5 million people are trapped in part-time jobs below their skill level because it's just so difficult to find a new job that allows flexible working from the outset. I don't think I've ever come across a job advertisement that states a job can be flexible around you - it's always the other way around. In fact a lot of jobs these days state you must be available to work any hour of any day. Hire Me My Way are calling on employers to listen to people's needs and open up to part-time working and flexibility, right from day one of hire. I honestly believe that employers who do this will benefit in the long run as a happy workplace is definitely a productive workplace.

I think it's important to mention that the need for flexible and part-time working isn't exclusive to females and mothers. In a few years time, Steve would love to decrease his hours in order to fulfil some of his non-career goals and for us to travel more. I know it's going to be tough for him to do this and when the time comes, we'll definitely be using the advice and support provided by Hire Me My Way.

It did all work out for me in the end and every day I am thankful that I've been able to create a successful career for myself working from home. I can't ever imagine not having the flexibility that being self-employed provides. Self-employment does have it's own challenges though, and it's certainly not for everyone. If you'd like to learn more about Hire Me My Way and how you can add your voice to their campaign, you can sign up and learn more here.


Before you go, don't forget to take this quick quiz and discover your chances of finding new part-time work.

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How to find a part time job that fits around family life. Join Hire Me My Way's campaign


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17 comments

  1. Absolutely brilliant! We haven't started a family yet and I already worry about how we'd ever be able to afford it! With no family close by and neither of us earning big bucks I sometimes wonder what on earth we'd do and if we should even have children. It's so sad I feel like that and I'm sure I'm not alone! Such an inspiring read x

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  2. A great read! I left my full time job after maternity leave and now run my own business. It means I can spend time at home with my children, but it involves a lot of weekend working so we do miss out on time as a family.

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  3. I think it really is something employers should consider more. When I was a single parent I had 2 part time jobs in a college. One was school hours/term time, and the other, an admin role, wasn't. Although I needed to provide contact support all holidays, I actually didn't need to work the day and a half timetabled, instead I did 2 short days that fit into school hours, and left more mundane tasks I could do at home for the holidays So simple :)

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  4. I feel this so much, I work 9-5, 4 days a week and Paul is full time, and due to not having family close by we pay for childcare (which is more than our rent!) and its crippling. We are literally wishing her life away until she's 3 and gets some free hours. I wish we could work more flexibly but it is so hard.

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  5. Love Hire Me My Way. Great and necessary campaign. The lack of flexible positions is why I want to be self employed too. Laughing that you used the same pixabay image for your pinable image as I used for my featured image - great minds eh!

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  6. Personally I think more should be done to recognise and value the caring roles that parents undertake in the home. If I was able to pass my personal allowance on to my husband we would be much better off. I am a stay at home mum, money is tight on just the one income but we feel that it is pointless me working to pay a stranger to look after our kids. I don't think pressure should be put on women to work just to increase revenue for the government, a lot of my friends in this situation are burnt out because, lets face it, women still do the majority of the domestic tasks in the home. I think we need a shift away from pushing women with young kids into work towards valuing the role of motherhood.

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  7. It's tricky! I work 19 hours over 3 days (1 full day, 2 part days) in admin role and fits pretty well with the kids. One night they do to the after school club (which i pay for) and the rest of the nights I am home to do the pick ups. I am bored in my role as i've been in it for 12 years but feel stuck and wonder where i would get the same decent salary in those sort of hours. I would have to go full time...and I wouldn't want to put that pressure on my family life!

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  8. I totally agree with the comments that Jules has just made - there seems to be an increasing pressure on women to be out there working as much as possible. I really believe that whilst nurseries and childminders can be great, that pre school children really benefit from having time with their parents. Recent reports of women earning less than men seem so negaitve,yet we're not in competition with them, many women love being at home with their children whether itsd full time or part time, and its a truly worth while role to be filling in a society where family life seems to be taking a back seat. I've been really lucky in that I have the skills and support from my husband to leave my job and start a tutoring business which fits around my kids, the time I have with them is priceless, and opportunities to have fleixible working hours plus training/advice about starting up business to fit around family life need to be made much more widely available. Great article, thanks

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  9. If there is flexibility for everyone then (say) one group like Mums are less likely to be discriminated against.

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  10. Fab post, I totally get this, I worked for my old employer when my girls were younger, I only did 2 day but they were 14 hour days one day going to a childminder and one with their dad meaning we never got to spend a Saturday as a family.The last straw was when I asked for a Saturday off for a family occasion and got told I was taking the mick. So decided that I'm not missing out on my girls no more. My youngest had just started school, I found a job in a school kitchen. Dispite the pay lose I get all the weekends and school holidays with my girls which beats money any day

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  11. There really should be more flexibility in all jobs and they would all have happier work places if people could fit in hours to suit their needs more. Great article!

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  12. I became self employed to work around living with a chronic illness. I could no longer do the 'normal' 9-5 and need the flexibility to allow me to concentrate on my health. This is such a great read! I'm proud of you for all that you have achieved as you have obviously put in a lot of hard work on your journey.

    V x

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  13. I just did the quiz. Part time is not looking good for me 😔

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  14. With two children under school age I have found it very difficult to find a job that can be flexible. I was offered a full time teaching job but decided I didn't want both boys in full time nursery so I could end up with about £200 a month from my (really quite good) teacher's salary.

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  15. It is something that needs to be considered more by employers. I was working part time, but in a job I hated so I went for my current role knowing it would be more hours and less time with the children, but I enjoy my job now so the time I get with them is much happier and they have a less stressed Mummy.

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  16. It's a real bug bear of mine that there aren't enough job opportunities out there for parents. With four children we have had to try to find a job which enables me to stay at home - and that's where my blog comes in! Great post though and so important too.

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  17. This is really inspiring and gives me hope. I could never go back to work after having my daughter as I was only working part time and not earning alot. Now I'm pregnant with our second child I don't think theres many options for me apart from being self employed! So glad it worked out for you and your family. Fiona x

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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