I do like to try and find the humour in whatever I write about. It does us good to laugh, doesn't it? But sometimes, just sometimes, I have to be serious, even if the subject topic itself is laughable.
I was recently made redundant after six years at the same company. It didn't take me long though, to crack on with trying to find a new job. I sent off a few applications and, a few days ago, had my first chat with a recruitment agent. 'Anthony' was very nice but I have to be honest - I came off the call feeling pretty miffed.
At my now previous company, I was incredibly lucky in that after having Little O I was able to return to work on a part-time basis, whilst still remaining at the same experience level. I am grateful for that.
However, now that I find myself on the market again, I realise what a pot of poop the part-time job market actually is.
I'm not going to blow my own trumpet here. This isn't the place for me to be dropping my CV. But I do have a bloody good degree, and since qualifying as a CIMA accountant five years ago, have accumulated some pretty impressive industry experience. Plus, according to Anthony, I'm a 'great communicator', which is reassuring in more ways than one.
So there must be jobs a-plenty, right? Hundreds of employers looking for someone with my skills and background?
On a full-time basis, yes. Part-time? Not so much.
Running a search on an online job site for roles at my experience level, salary range and preferred location yielded 1 part-time vacancy for every 34 full-time equivalents. That's 3% of the total. Sad, isn't it?
Don't get me wrong, I know there are part-time finance jobs out there. Many, in fact. That is, if I wanted to return to doing the type of thing I was doing eight years ago, before I even qualified.
Umm, no thanks. That's not really what I spent three years studying, sitting exams and giving up evenings and weekends for.
But wait a minute - this is a marvellous opportunity for a career change, n'est pas? Time to sling off those reins forged of Excel formulae and scamper away to find something more flexible, something more family-friendly. Creative, even.
What an awesome idea. There's just one small problem. Feel free to flick your wrists and shimmy 'Beyonce-style' when I say this, but...
I'm an independent woman.
I want to be able to buy my own shoes. I want to continue making a meaningful contribution to our household expenses. I don't want to have to ask my husband for a tenner if I need it.
And, unfortunately, career changes mean starting at the bottom. Or they mean working evenings and weekends, building up a business or working freelance, and missing out on family time. What's the other choice? Oh, yeah. Work part-time for peanuts whilst paying what feels like a billion pounds for childcare.
This isn't about the issue of whether to leave your children and go back to work. This isn't about whether or not to embark on a career change (because I'm not completely against the idea). It's when you've already made that decision and you just want to go back to doing what you were doing before you had kids. Except this time, part-time. Preferably at a company which recognises that becoming a parent hasn't numbed your ability to add up, act professionally or think proactively.
So you, sitting there with your cuppa and your resource gap - get with the program. There's an ocean of talent out there. Don't be nervous. All you need is courage. Courage to think creatively, to think 'outside the box'. Courage to take a long, hard look at your organisational structure and challenge the status quo.
Because there's thousands of highly skilled parents out there with the courage to jump back into the working world. All they need is the opportunity..