Finance Director Emilie Crick found her last two roles on 2to3days. She explains that being proactive and keeping an eye on the market means mothers can work flexibly and progress their careers.
In 2014, when she wanted to return from maternity leave to her job within corporate credit at one of the big banks in the city, Emilie Crick ran into problems familiar to many mothers.
Restructuring had taken place during her absence which meant that the role she was returning to was not the same. The new role covered a different sector in which she had limited experience as well as having a considerably smaller team to manage.
“I was going from being a director heading up a team to not really having any managerial responsibilities,” she says.
There was more. While the bank said they could be flexible and offer part-time working, there were stipulations. She would have to do all her three and a half days in the office – commuting even on the half day – and she’d be expected to be available for meetings/ ad-hoc work that arose on her non-working days which had to be a Thursday or Friday.
Faced with a situation that was de-motivating and difficult to juggle without significant child-care costs, Emilie opted not to return. Her son had been premature – born at 30 weeks, she felt he still needed her – and her husband often travelled for work. Such inflexible flexibility wasn’t going to cut it.
At the time she wasn’t too worried. “I was happy to stay home and focus on my son. But by the time he was 15 months he didn’t need me as much. He wanted to explore and I was just the servant!” She missed work and wondered if this was the right time to fulfil her ambition to move into the small business sector, away from investment-grade corporate banking.
“I started looking for part-time roles but there wasn’t much out there,” she says. “I didn’t know where to start and recruitment consultants just focused on what I had been doing. They couldn’t see how my skills were transferable.”
When she became pregnant with her second son, Emilie gave up looking for a role. “I’d interviewed for something but I was stabbing in the dark and then I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want to say to a new employer that I would need to go on maternity leave so soon.”
She abandoned the search until her second son was 13 months old. This time, things were very different. “There was so much more out there – I couldn’t believe the difference in two years. A friend told me about 2to3days. I redid my CV and uploaded my details to the site.”
Another friend then forwarded her a 2to3days role in Clapham, near her home. It was an office manager position, 15 hours a week. She applied and did some freelance work for the firm, and only a week later a finance role at local salad dressing business Lucy’s Dressings came up on 2to3days.
“I’m a big foodie and it was a 10-minute cycle from my house,” she says. “I could make the move from corporate banking to management accounting and learn on the job in a flexible environment.” The role was the challenge I was looking for. “When I joined I was thrown into the deep end and was involved in the forecasting and crowdfunding process” In a small firm she found she could also gain experience in PR, marketing, operations, HR and commercial strategy.
Emilie had no plans to leave Lucy’s Dressings, but two years later a Finance Director position with Brixton-based Volcano Coffee Works appeared on a 2to3days email. It seemed the perfect next step. “I was keen to broaden my experience and make the jump to Finance Director,” she says.
She found the 2to3days network invaluable in getting to know businesses in her area that were open to flexible working. “It’s a step up,” she says of the new position. “I should be able to gain a huge amount of experience as well as use my accountancy qualification and previous banking experience to its full potential”.
“I’ve recommended 2to3days to so many people. You do have to be proactive and make it happen. If I had unsubscribed from the email I would have missed the opportunity. It’s such a helpful summary of the jobs in your area at all levels. There’s something for everyone.”