Welcome to part 20 of the blog series 'Children Changing Careers' - A series for parents who have pulled off a career change after having children.
This week's post features Lucy from Boffin Recruitment
You can also find Lucy on her blog The Two Saving Sisters
Tell me about your life, background and career before children? (Did you have particular training or qualifications? What was your job title? Run through of an average day/week etc)
Prior to having children I was an Operations Manager for Adecco, a national recruitment agency. My remit was to manage a team of 50 staff, across 12 different locations along the M4/M5 corridor. It was hectic, extremely pressurised, and I’d often cover more than 1000 miles in a week, driving from office to office. I had an annual sales budget in excess of £20 million to meet and so basically my job involved motivating, managing, leading and driving my teams to deliver that. It was long hours and intense at times, but I absolutely loved it. I lived for it and my main motivation was seeing and supporting the success of everyone that worked for me.
What were your reasons for leaving your previous career? Why did you decide not to stay?
My husband getting orders to Germany and us moving preceded my pregnancy. He’s in the US Air Force and we knew that as soon as we moved, I wouldn’t be working all day and night and we’d think about a starting a family. Thinking being the operative word, but I got pregnant almost immediately.
He deployed to Kuwait when I was 7 months pregnant which made me realize that living in a different country to your support network and family, makes any return to work when regularly solo parenting a tough task. So I resigned myself to being a Stay at Home Mum for a few years. Genuinely, that was never in my game plan and as fortunate as I feel to be able to be at home with my children, it’s been a huge personal compromise.
Consequentially I threw myself into the first mum group that I joined and after a few months that turned into a larger than expected volunteer role of Program Director for a US military breastfeeding support group. I qualified as a Certified Lactation Counselor with the American Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice and have been volunteering supporting mums and their breastfeeding goals ever since.
Tell me about your new career now:
We moved locations in Germany after 4 years and that coincided with me being approached by a friend’s husband to consider working as a voice artist recording audio books and voiceovers for ads, YouTube videos and other social media. I had zero qualifications for the role except my English accent; Americans love it! It’s been hard work at times, especially when my husband most recently deployed and I was doing the mum-job by day, tucking them up in bed, and then hitting the microphone to record at night. That said, I’ve really enjoyed the jobs that have come in and the personal satisfaction I’ve got from doing something massively outside of my comfort zone. The money has been peanuts compared to what I was earning, but it’s been more about having something for me.
Talk me through an average day for you now? How much has your life changed?
Most recently one of my very best friend’s put me in touch with a friend of hers who has started her own Recruitment Agency called Boffin Recruitment. We’re all products of the same recruitment team from way back and she had decided to employ a Talent Manager (that’s me!) to identify and recruit a virtual team of self-employed Recruitment Consultants across the UK and within different industry sectors.
I’m self-employed and work around my 2 children, their schools, social lives and activities. I sit down at my desk and often am interrupted because the train track has been destroyed, or someone wants a drink. It’s taken my ability to multi-task to another dimension but I love being back in what I consider my industry. Where I can use my experience, knowledge and skills once more after being out of that environment for over 6 years.
What is the best and worst thing about your new career?
The best thing is having a remote team that understands my priorities and life demands. We’re all work at home parents that want the flexibility of being able to do the school run and go to our children’s events as well as have successful careers. It’s the best of both worlds. The work at home aspect of the company has given me exactly what I need to fulfill my personal and professional goals.
The worst thing is the juggling of it all. I often still drive 300 miles per week because we live in the sticks so I have a lot of dead time but I use it to think through ideas, or just listen to podcasts.
Is there anything you miss about your previous career/life before children?
The money. The stain-free clothes. And the free time!
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to do what you have done?
Wait and really consider ideas that others throw at you. I went from the business world to supporting breastfeeding mums at their most vulnerable and exhausted to recording books for a living. I never in a million years would have dreamed I’d do that. People keep on telling me that I’m so lucky to have found this last job but it took 6 years for it to find me. And in the meantime I developed a pretty diverse skillset and portfolio career. I can move anywhere in the world now and still be able to work.
PS: We Are Boffin are recruiting now! Take a look at their ˆjoin the team’ page