Except in some ways it does still feel rather new and strange.
I’ve learnt some things over the last months.
The most surprising of all being that there have been moments when I’d have quite happily have gone running right back into an investment bank… Not that I’d been brain washed over the preceeding decade, more that I guess there are times when its better the devil you know and the game that you’ve learnt to play.
Because its really very strange trying to work out the dynamics of a completely new place and a new set of mores and norms. Not actually sure I’m getting there to be honest.
I do feel rather cheated that the new employer hasn’t lived up to their promises of a more flexible working life, of a place more accepting to working mums, of an environment where I’d feel that I wasn’t quite so alone in doing the full time working thing. But actually it turns out to be a male dominated, just rather delusioned about how equal, about how flexible it is and there are times that makes me very cross indeed.
I do like that I work in a team that understands the little niche product I’ve spent the last decade specialising in and yet am frustrated that I’m having to spend rather a lot of time explaining exactly what it is I do to people in the same group as me… which feels horribly familiar.
Yes I’m gradually building a network, gradually finding my feet, gradually carving out a role for myself and yes I’m still turning up at work.
I’ve survived some fairly hideous weeks at work – the worst being a week with Mr Muddling being away whilst I had a frenetic week at the office culminating in a 3am finish trying to get a presentation finalised. But you know what, I managed it and I managed it whilst being on my own. That’s given me a lot of confidence that I can manage to juggle and awful lot and come out the end shattered but surviving.
I had been holding out for this week because I can now request flexible working. Except I’m not going to be doing that right now. I’ve spent time talking to other working mums at my new place and there aren’t a lot of them managing to combine still being on the career track and staying in a client facing role if they request flexibility. So instead of putting in the paperwork this week, I’m exploring what might work, trying to build a reputation with my boss that I can still get things done despite having to go home and using smoke and mirrors and every trick up my sleeve to find ways to get a bit of flexibility in an inflexible environment. I guess I am trying to approach this like I do my work – finding the art of the possible and, if I’m being honest, accepting that my ambition hasn’t completely disappeared, even if my willingness to work every hour of the day and night has.