Guest Post: Work after Maternity Leave by Dr Gulara Vincent

I always love reading posts from readers all over the world. One blog never fail to amaze me is Dr Gulara’s blog. She is such an inspirational figure to me. Below is a guest post especially written for MiddleMe by her. I do hope you all will enjoy her effort as much as I have.

Dr Gulara Vincent is a writer, blogger, and a university law lecturer. She lives in Birmingham, England, with her husband and two young children. You can visit her writer’s blog at http://gularavincent.com/blog or connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DrGularaVincent) and Twitter (@gulara_vincent).


 

Don’t want to return to your job after maternity leave? Then read on.

I first realised that I wanted to quit my high-paying stable once-much-desired lectureship in law at one of the best universities in England… on the first day of starting my job. On that day, I had a miscarriage. I was a teaching fellow in my department in the preceding academic year and worked my socks off. The interviews and appointment took place in February 2011, so when I found out I was pregnant in June of that year, I had mixed feelings: on the one hand I was elated to finally have a family; on the other hand, I worried terribly whether my colleagues would judge me for leaving for maternity leave so soon after starting a lectureship. My miscarriage on 1 September 2011 resolved that dilemma, but left me wondering whether I had got my priorities right.

So, when I got pregnant again in the summer of 2012, I tried to pace myself at work. I still struggled to slow down, and the end of the pregnancy was stressful with several unexplained bleeds and an early induction. It took me a few weeks to get used to my newly-acquired freedom, but once I did so, I realised I didn’t want to go back to work. But what could I do instead? How could I bring in money to support my family? By then, I was writing a book, but everyone kept saying that writing doesn’t pay the bills, so I didn’t believe that I had what it takes to quit my academic job. I returned to work for a few months, and got pregnant again. This time, I knew I had a year ahead to come up with a clear plan of leaving my job behind.

By the time my daughter was born in February 2015, I’d started building my business. It’s still in its infancy. I offer 1:1 sessions to women writers to unblock their creative flow. I blog regularly. My first book is complete and I’m pursuing its publication.

It’s all finally coming together. Here’s what I’ve learnt from my experience of starting your own business after maternity leave:

  1. Don’t just walk away from your old job, unless you want to be a stay-home mum, which, let’s face facts, is a full time job in its own right. Give yourself time to transition and build a solid foundation of your business. Start building the muscle of being an entrepreneur in your spare time first.
  2. Get clear on what you want to do, but more importantly why. Have an overall vision of why you want to dedicate yourself to your business. It requires time and commitment, and your big ‘why’ will carry you forward in times of difficulty, as well as inform the next step you need to take to move towards your dream.
  3. Consider going part-time before you quit. It can easily take 12-24 months to establish a business and longer to make it flourish.
  4. Make sure you’ve got the resources to invest in your skills and business operations. It may be starting or revamping your website, paying an accountant, or taking a relevant course.
  5. However difficult returning to your old job may be after maternity leave, honour it until your last day there, because it’s subsidising your new dream-life. I feel nothing but gratitude for my academic job. It’s given me the financial resources I needed, lots of skills I can take forward into my own business, and security to act from integrity and not despair. So, when I offer 1:1 sessions to women, for me it’s more about offering than making money.
  6. Last, but not least, owning a business can reveal many patterns we may not have been aware of while being an employee. Personally, when I stepped onto this path, my issues around self-worth, fear of exposure, my relationship with money and many others surfaced. I invested in my personal development through a series 1:1 sessions to clear both blocks and limiting beliefs. From that place, business building flowed with more ease and joy (you can read more about my experience of building business from the inside out at http://gularavincent.com/2015/12/14/the-ease-of-building-a-business-from-the-inside-out/).
  7. Choose the path that makes you happy. In the end, career and achievement are not what you’ll value in the long run.

 


 

Go and visit her blog to learn more about this amazing woman!

Want your stories to be featured on MiddleMe? As long as it is career related and inspiring, you can drop me an email at kally@middleme.net for a discussion.

Join MiddleMe at Twitter (MiddleMe_net), FaceBook (MiddleMe.net) and WeChat! Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.27.32 PM

Advertisements

42 comments

  1. I agree with point no. 7 🙂
    Career and achievements don’t really mean much at the end of the day. Sure it will pay the bills but one can never be completely happy and satisfied.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh again a great guest post Gulara.
    I goo regnant before I had my first post university job. Finding a job was already hard as many employers are apparently worried here about the fact that one might end up pregnant. I had a job as a high school teacher for 3 months but I quit as it was straining on my health, I worked less time than I had to spend in the school or in public transportation… Not ideal when pregnant. Also knowing that I would only have a 3 months leave total and coming back to my non stable and physical job when my child (it was a contract for the school year) would be 2 months old made me go mad. After I left I found out that one of my colleagues had an early miscarriage.
    I was quite successful with my freelance teaching (I made more money than in the classroom) a success I have yet to reach again.
    I am sorry for this heart breaking loss and I am so happy for you that you are finding your path and enjoy life with your two children.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your comment and sharing here. I think as women we experience a lot of situations like this but don’t talk enough about it. Plus, as you say, employers are wary of hiring women. It’s as if we failed if we work after having children, and failed if we stay home. Neither is good or bad, but it helps to find what makes us happy.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I see women struggle with this issue a lot. I chose to be a stay at home mother. We were poor as church mice, but survived. When I was ready to go back to work, I chose another direction which I ended up liking much better. Follow your gut. There is no one right choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Gulara, as always your words are wise and thoughtful. My problem was that I never figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I enjoyed being a stay-at-home-mom, but then I went through a divorce. I ended up working predominantly for small businesses. I learned quite a bit about the mistakes small businesses make, thus putting themselves out of business. If anyone is looking at going out on their own I DO hope they contact you first! Thank you for your advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My absolute pleasure, Gwynn. It’s so much harder to learn things on your own especially under the pressure like you had to do after the divorce. I’m glad you learned a lot and now share your wisdom on your blog and by commenting on our blogs. Your presence and warmth are true gift and I truly appreciate all your support!

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s