An odd re-re-start

September 23, 2016

I started my first maternity leave from a career in the satisfying and challenging town planning sphere in mid-March 2007, not quite (obviously) a decade ago.

The learning curve for new parents can be pretty steep.  For instance, how do you get a month-old bub to sit up and still and not smile for her first passport photo?  Or what do you do when living in a country whose entire food supply you don’t trust, yet bub is now six months old and probably ready to start eating something other than breastmilk?  And when do they sleep???

A couple of years later I did it again and this time enjoyed over a year out of my career simply because, then as now, child care places were next to impossible to secure.

What this boils down to, career-wise, is that for the past nine and half years, what with throwing in some travel and moving country a handful of times I have been in paid employment either part-time or not at all.

Until this week.  This week I was offered full-time employment, not once, but twice.  How’s that?  The first offer came from an unexpected source- the asset management branch of the NSW Department of Education.  This quite appealed because I care very much about public education and the opportunity to plan and deliver quality new, well-located, schools and effective upgrades to existing ones is a process I think I could do well and enjoy.  Everything was set last week for me to begin this week Monday.

Spanner in the works time…

On Friday I took a call from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment offering me a job for which i had interveiwed for over a month ago and which I had largely given up on.

What to do?  What to do?

Actually it was quite simple… the Education job was offered as a temporary contract for eight weeks, the Planning job was offered as a temporary full-time senior position for eight months (covering maternity leave, coincidentally.)  I accepted the Planning job and rang the recruiter handling the Education job to explain that I appreciated his work on my behalf and even though I had accepted the position and was due to start the very following Monday, I must now back out, essentially because I got a better offer.  Quite easily one of the most difficult telephone calls I’ve ever made.  (We spoke about open and honest communication and respect, and maintaining relationships, and not burning bridges; I haven’t heard from him since, despite his affirmation he would call me on Monday.)

Now I was due to re-enter the paid workforce, with the state department of planning, where I had previously worked when taking that first lot of maternity leave, on Monday.   Wow, more than four years after leaving the paid workforce entirely I was diving back in full-time!  Except as it’s working out, more wading in from the shallow end than diving…

Late on Friday, Planning called and said the paperwork just wouldn’t be ready in time, could I postponed starting to Wednesday?  Ok, sure, why not?

Wednesday morn I turn up at the appointed time, get a security pass, have my mug shot taken, fill in reams of forms, hand over my passport (and get it back), take a tour of the building, though I do recall it well from when I was last in it, and then meet my new team!  After a day and half work stops.  The boss orders pizza, we drink the wine left in the fridge and start to pack all our files etc into boxes.  You see, the department is moving to a new location over the weekend.  Was it me?

Additionally, we have booked and paid for a week away, next week.  Meaning my full-time career replug is actually three days, a week off and then a long weekend Monday, and also a Friday off as we have tickets to Taronga zoo’s 1o0th birthday party that day, so another three day week.  I’m sure the full weeks will hit me like a mack truck when they do happen, I was already quite tuckered out just yesterday!

All-in-all I think calling it an odd re-re- start to my career is not inaccurate.  Wish me luck!


P.S.  I am extremely thankful to all the people that got me over the line to this point; Andi Daniels, Sarah Graham, Tina Harris, Chris Hilliard, Elizabeth Kinkade, Tim Archer, Norma Shankie-Williams, Emma Booth, Emma Cain, Amanda Jackes, Belinda Morrow, Berlinda, and of course Paul, Percy and Tally.


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