According to recent research in the 2018 Modern Families Index published by work-life charity Working Families and childcare provider Bright Horizons, almost one in five working parents have deliberately slowed down their career progression as they have struggled to balance their working life with their responsibilities at hom
With 11% of parents refusing a new job and 1 in 10 turning down a promotion because of a lack of good work life balance opportunities, (*these figures are the same for mothers and fathers) we spoke to Director Chris Jones and working Dad at Gibson Hollyhomes, for his advice on how you don’t have to miss out on your next career move.
Tell us where it all began…
When I got the call while in a client meeting to say my little girl was on her way, this was the first stage of striking a work life balance. Apart from explaining why my phone was on loud in the meeting, I then had to drop my colleague (then a trainee) at the nearest public transport spot “sorry Christian” and it all began from there.
Two of the most unpredictable things I have experienced in life are children and recruitment! Both give you a roller-coaster and are never the same.
From your experience what factors/challenges do you think affect work life balance most?
Guilt was my first obstacle. Getting my daughter up in the week to get her ready for breakfast club and dropping a slightly grumpy, tired little girl off way before school actually starts, will without doubt fill you with pangs of guilt every day.
Guilt phase two… whilst doing the nursery run all of my team are already at their desks. Why am I feeling guilty I ask myself? Work ethic, wanting to help a business grow and be the best possible Dad.
What are your top tips for finding the right balance?
All you can do is balance the books in the best way possible. I put my energy into each area of my life (work and home) to achieve and try not to worry about what I can’t possibly change and wouldn’t want to change.
How can you approach this heading into a new role?
Without question it’s finding the right business, a business that understands first hand. A boss who gets that things happen in life and a company who has the same work ethic and professionalism with a culture that embraces life and how to adapt and still grow to be successful.
My first week in the business Rory and Lisa (Gibson Hollyhomes owners, and at that point the only two employees) had their first baby, which made for an interesting first week. Looking back I remember flying solo in the office, thinking what the hell have I done! But that set the tone for the next 10 years of working with them. Team work, understanding, rolling your sleeves up and just getting on with it. We all want the business to grow but we also want to have fun doing it.
It’s a two-way street….
When you find the company who will give you this, there’ll be no need to turn that job offer or promotion. It’s about giving back. Use the change as a positive incentive to achieve. If you try your hardest and work to the best of your ability and show commitment you naturally get more back. You’ll get the flexibility and elements of freedom you require as a working parent. In my opinion you earn the right to be given an environment to help you achieve balance.
If I could summarise how to a career move or promotion it would be:
- Use your time efficiently
- Back yourself
- Make yourself an asset
- Run towards the challenges
- Sleep when you can
- Give up on cleaning your car………
The average employee will spend at least 21% of their waking hours at work in their lifetime, so it’s important to strike a good work-life balance. Find out more here.