Thursday, 26 August 2010

How to make the shift from being at home to corporate life as smoothly as possible

I am sitting down to write this blog after an hour of peace and quiet. It has been a difficult day with the girls. In their own way they are feeling the transition from Mummy being a work from home Mum to a corporate Mum just as much as I am. The difference is that they are not yet as able to articulate their feelings as coherently as I can.

How has it been I hear you asking? What changes has it brought? Let's start with the good stuff. I love knowing what I am going to do in broad terms three days a week and being able to rely on regular money coming in. I enjoy being in London and having a 20-30 minute walk each way twice a day. Yesterday was a good example of the freedom I now enjoy which was the chance to meet up with a friend, who is back from Hong Kong, for a coffee at short notice without the girls. It is also lovely to be part of a team that is responsible for large scale change and it is very exciting especially as I believe in what I am doing. The bonus has been receiving compliments about my creativity and my ability to add value from the start.

So what am I less sure about? I do not enjoy the fact that 9 out of 10 women wear black or grey suits in the City, occasionally they add white and beige to the mix! In an act of rebellion perhaps, or just to ensure that I never lose sight of who I am, I have been wearing a lot of orange and coral these first couple of weeks. My girls have had to do two to three days a week at nursery and often 10 hours. Thankfully because of support from my Mum, this has happened less frequently then it may have done. I miss my girls and they miss me and the only good thing is that they greet me with peals of delight every evening when I walk in and both want to be picked up and hugged at the same time.

The least likeable aspects are the politics which are rife in most corporates, I just find the whole thing pointless and energy zapping. Even more concerning is the extent to which fear drives employees and how they behave. People have already talked about being "judged" if the project does not deliver. This is unhealthy on so many levels.

My tips to any other parent in this place is:

  1. Be very clear about why you are doing this.
  2. Ensure that the time that you do spend with your children is quality time wherever possible. It assuages the guilt.
  3. Recognise what you are gaining from being in the workplace - for me I am regaining some of my identity which got rather buried over the last three years!
  4. Talk through how you are going to make it work with your partner if you both commute and if they are visual, have a week or month's view that shows who will do the pick ups and drop offs; the dinner etc.
  5. Monitor how the new set up is working. If it really does not work for any of you then change it. If it is tough but works then be grateful for what it gives you and your family

Love to hear your thoughts on this below.


  1. WOW Kate! Sounds like you are handling the shift well! I can't wait to hear more about it!

  2. Thanks Beth. It certainly is major change and as the Napoleon Hill saying goes my life is happening perfectly just as it is. Most of the time I believe it and I hope it will give me the opportunities and leads to grow my coaching business.

  3. There's so much change to deal with when you are a working mum to small children, isn't there? This really resonated with me, though : "If it is tough but works then be grateful for what it gives you and your family".

    Good for you for wearing orange and coral!

  4. Thanks Helen and thanks for popping by. And you are right. I have realised that the reason my eldest daughter has been so difficult in the last few days is a desperate need for attention. It is probably just as well that I am at home alone this bank holiday with them so I can meet this need. On the colour front, the funny thing was that the one day I wore a beige suit, to meet a partner, my male colleague made a specific point of saying how good I looked!!

  5. I got here at yes you have been busy. I admire you for getting the balance the idea of colour. I was in London yesterday and have a week of it next week....I'm not sure I could cope with it on a permanent basis though. I know exactly what you mean about the walking, even to be alone with your thoughts, and being able to just pop off for a coffee with a friend without having to tow along children as well- that sounds like bliss.

  6. I definitely hear you on the black - I wear a lot of black but have been trying to wear nice things, stylish things and to be as far away from corporate dullness

    Agree with your list - having your partner onside is key, absolutely key

  7. Thanks Nova and Muddling Along Mummy for your comments. It is funny as I spend more time there I see myself slipping into more suits but always with a colourful top.

  8. Oh Kate, I so admire you and had to chuckle at the idea you were complimented on looking good when you'd slipped into a more 'corporate' colour - I have to say, having had 3 years out of London corporate life, I do miss certain elements of the buzz and mixing with people every day (!) but City workers can become very blinkered, just by sheer overwhelm!

    I love living vicariously and can't wait to meet you for lunch when I'm back from retreat: make sure you wear coral :o)

    (and I agree with Muddling Along Mummy - having your partner onside is key; I was a single mum and it made life so very difficult)

  9. Thanks for that lovely comment Callie and I do love giving my readers a chuckle! Can't wait to meet up with you for lunch it will certainly be a highlight in my day. I agree with you that there are good things and less great things about city life...