Can we both have a big career? One family’s choice

Alex and Liz were a dual career family. They had managed the early years of parenthood by taking parental leave in turn, and while life was a juggle, they had managed to keep everything going with two busy pre-schoolers.  However, now with the children in the middle school years, life was hectic and sometimes, more than a little out of control. Liz had a high profile career working for a professional services firm, and was offered a promotion that meant frequent travel.  It was her dream job and the opportunity of a lifetime for her career, but what did this mean for their family?

Liz and Alex thought long and hard about what would work and what wouldn’t if Liz accepted the promotion.  After a lot of soul searching and discussion, they had decided that both of them actively pursuing their careers was not giving them the lifestyle they wanted for their family.  Alex was ready for something different and they agreed that he would be the one to work more flexibly and reposition himself in the market. It was extremely important for Alex to get this move right, so he engaged the services of a Career Coach to ensure his transition to flexible work was smooth and he was pitched at the right level throughout his campaign.

Alex had been with the same company for a long time in a very senior marketing role.  His decision to work differently highlighted his long-term discontent and frustration with his work. He had built up a considerable amount of annual leave, so decided to take some time off to try and figure out what he really wanted to do.  He spent time doing things he loved unpacking his working life to date, looking at his strengths, weaknesses and frustrations and considering what suited this life stage and the family life he and Liz aspired to.

Taking the time to deep dive provided Alex with an invaluable tool for learning about himself, and allowed him to work out what he likes to do and why. Alex had limited understanding of the possibilities for his new working life.  However, when challenged to think differently he came up with a number of potentially rewarding options. Top of his list was creating a portfolio of activities, which would provide him with more than one income stream and the flexibility and autonomy he was looking for.

Alex found a 3 day a week permanent part time role close to home.  This gave him a reliable income stream and allowed him to work as part of a team within an organisation, which he enjoys.  He is currently studying towards a qualification in surface pattern design, which is something he’s found to be a passion.

How do you feel about the future?

“I have returned to my creative roots and it feels great. I’m building my network of contacts in the pattern design side of things, and exploring how I can generate an income from this side of my portfolio.

I feel deeply that I’m doing what’s important to me at this stage of my life and work, and that makes me very happy. Nervous at times as it’s a new path, but the work I did with the career coach has become my compass and keeps me on track. The difference for our family is remarkable, we have a sense of wellbeing and enjoyment of this stage of our family life. Liz loves the challenge of her new role and is enjoying the travel.  I’m working on what I really care about and have renewed energy.  It wasn’t until I made this change that I realised how much my previous work and lifestyle was draining the life out of me!