Returning to work after children – A blog by Abigail Rice

Two of my life goals have always been kids and a campervan. Having fulfilled my first ambition, I now needed to work on my second.

the Cloud campervanI’ve always worked, my parents helped instill me with strong values and an appreciation of hard work and its rewards. As soon as I could earn money I did. One summer before my degree I juggled three jobs to earn enough money to get me by before my student grants became available and then I worked every holiday either in a supermarket, behind a bar, or walking donkeys up and down the beach.

After gaining my degree I came to Leeds and worked temporarily selling customer account cards for a well-known retail giant. When given the opportunity to utilize my language skills at an international telecommunications company I jumped at the chance and my I.T. career had started.

When I had my first child in 2007 my priorities in life shifted and then when she was 15 months old my second little bundle of joy arrived. Work had always been one constant in my life and now the nature of this work had changed. It was not all about the office, delivery and hitting those all-important review milestones. It was now a different kind of late night, nappies and housework! Motherhood is a life’s work in itself. A challenge that I have relished every second of (my limits have been tested like never before!).

Before going on maternity leave a work colleague had introduced me to the world of social networking, something that I found to be an invaluable lifeline whilst being bound to my responsibilities as homemaker. I got out to as many of the baby groups as I could, and when I couldn’t, that virtual world was there for me to reach into and switch off as I needed.

When my second child started school I began to consider returning to the world of work, a daunting concept after 7 and a half years dedicated to the family. An unfortunate incident at netball left me nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon, (dangerous sport!). This meant I spent the best part of the year in plaster and rehabilitating. Thank heavens for my virtual friendships!

As serendipity would have it my circumstances were about to change. Browsing my social networks led me to stumble upon a couple of children’s booster seats up for grabs, my decision to respond and subsequently acquire these seats led me to reconnecting with an old work acquaintance who then presented me with an opportunity for an interview for my current role at the cloud computing company virtualDCS. Bizarrely, whilst collecting the seats I commented to the kids that it looked like a nice place to work.

I’ve always been a social creature and enjoy a fast paced dynamic environment. The idea of working in a small team in a growing business with a dedicated bunch of professionals appealed to my cravings for a challenge. Technology is transforming our world and will continue to shape the lives of our children and future generations. Being part of a dedicated team who offer virtualization of software and other professional I.T. services is a vocation I am happy to pursue. After my maternity break returning to the workplace has been an unexpected and rewarding experience.

Now not only do I have two booster seats, but a part time role at virtualDCS and a good work-family balance. Still chasing that campervan, though.

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