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Female consultant and starting a family?!?

 
#1 Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 12:01

confused - MC

I started my career in business consulting over five years ago, and actually enjoy what we do! Got married recently and we are now thinking of starting a family. I would love to hear any advice/experiences from consultants who have managed to juggle both - did you have to change consultancies or take a break from work? Which companies are the best for flexible working arrangements (i.e. cutting down on travel, flexi-time,work-from-home?)

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#2 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 12:08

The POwer of Greyskull to confused - MC (#1)

Hmmm let me think, in this market a consultancy with low travel, flexi-time & work-from-home arrangements = 0

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#3 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 12:17

flexer to The POwer of Greyskull (#2)

look for small companies and negotiate a deal, ignore the big brands...

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#4 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 12:36

confused-mc to confused - MC (#1)

lol - thats what I was worried about. Guess we don't really think of these things when we are 21 and just out of varisty looking to take over the world! Its sad really that if you want to have a "normal" life you have to end your consulting career!

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#5 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 13:21

flexer to confused-mc (#4)

LOL guess ur stuffed then!!!!!! ROTFL!!!!!

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#6 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 17:59

another woman to confused - MC (#1)

I completely disagree with the first replies to this thread. I work for ACN on a London project and many people in my team have either young children or wouldn't think twice about starting a family, including me. The maternity benefits are brilliant and there are a lot of support groups to help you through the whole process. This includes back to work buddying and flexible working. Work-life balance is very much on the agenda in ACN and personally, I think companies that expect you to accept that having a family means end of your career are very much in the wrong. Clients can and do understand. I would encourage you to bring this up with your current company...

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#7 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 18:46

anon to another woman (#6)

If u can't stand the heat, get outta the kitchen!!!

I hate having to work twice as hard just because some happy go lucky teammate goes home early when we have deadlines to meet, won't travel and is generally isn't pulling her weight because her priorities lay elsewhere!!! Why do firms put up with those kind of p1ss takers!!! They're not even serious about their career, they're just doing it to earn a bit of extra cash and usually sod off after a few years before the sh1t hits the fan!!

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#8 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
14/03/2008 20:41

Expat to anon (#7)

What a charming response from anon.

On the whole, I agree with the response from another woman above (though I'm a bloke) - most companies both large and small will do what they can to accommodate your needs.

Having said that, if you do elect to return to a role that involves limited travelling and fewer hours, then you have to be prepared for the very real possibility that this is going to limit your career progression options.

I'm thinking about the mothers of young children in my company - in all cases the company's done what it can to be flexible and accommodate their needs, but none of those who have come back to work are able to put in the hours to give them a realistic shot at middle-to-senior management jobs.

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#9 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
15/03/2008 08:53

Mickey to anon (#7)

For this to work, the management should put the woman onto jobs / teams where the accommodations she is given (hours / travel etc.) do not result in increased workload for other staff. Then there's no reason for resentment. That said, the other comment (about hereby limiting career progression) still applies - but I guess we've all realised by now that you can't really "have it all" (this applies equally to men, it's just their "all" may be different). Even so, being able to combine a reasonably well paid job with raising a family is surely a great success, even if your career slows down for a few years until the kids go to school etc.

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#10 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
15/03/2008 09:43

anon to Mickey (#9)

they wanna have their cake AND eat it!!!! why should they get the easy tasks that enable them go home early, have no stress or out of hours calls, no travel etc!!!! what about the "rights" of the rest of us??? it's PC gone mad!!!!!

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#11 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
16/03/2008 15:41

appalled to anon (#10)

I assume you never want children - with that disgusting attitude I doubt you'll find any self respecting woman who wants to have them with you!

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#12 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
16/03/2008 16:16

anon to appalled (#11)

Get stuffed, grotbags!

I note by the way that you have failed to address any of the points/concerns I raised in my message, you freeloading liberal!

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#13 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
18/03/2008 11:04

confused - MC to confused - MC (#1)

Thanks for your input and thoughts - I know that ACN and many other orgs' do support and are flexible if you have very young children.What concerns me the perceptions of the team you work with, and by the responses I see there will prob. be a lot of "less than sympathetic" peers who think you are slacking-off and increasing their work-load. I know, because I was one of them not so long ago! Hence the concern. I def. agree with the point that the role and team capacity needs to be considered and career progression is prob. going to slow down considerably. I think is going to be a big challenge :(

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#14 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
18/03/2008 14:39

MacD to confused - MC (#13)

Anon - you are a twat mate.

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#15 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
18/03/2008 15:04

anon to MacD (#14)

I wondered how long it would be before some knuckle-dragging "Bluto" character came along. There's always one.

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#16 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
19/03/2008 11:57

.... to anon (#15)

anon. you are a nerd!

Won´t you think, that companies heads are intelligent enough being able to compensate the drop out?

I don´t think so - and obviously they do in real life!

Maybe you are stockpiling the work and drop the sh1t to your colleagues - now complaining about to do the sh1t on you own you delegated before!

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#17 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 10:59

pacamack to .... (#16)

I'm with PA and have found them to be very good. When I first joined I had a 4 week old baby daughter and a wife who was finding being a new mother something of a challenge. The first four jobs that came up were in Bristol, Sheffield, Poland and Princeton, NJ. I was able to say no to all of these without there being any black marks against my name. I was also able to shift my working pattern so I started at 07:30 and left at 16:30 (when possible) without there being any issues. In our practice there seems to be a baby a week and many of the female consultants are able to work flexibly or part time without being treated like pariahs.

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#18 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 11:06

Jim to pacamack (#17)

Hmmm ………… explains why PA pay such poor wages, and can only win jobs with the civil service

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#19 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 11:11

Bev to Jim (#18)

I've made this point before, but the debate over diversity and inclusiveness is over. Women's rights are here to stay, and that includes the right to childbirth and flexible working. Anybody disagreeing with this is in the dark ages.

I would like the people on this thread who dare to challenge this, to sign up for diversity awareness training *NOW*, RIGHT NOW. You should be forcibly assigned an outreach worker. Luddites.

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#20 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 14:04

Steve to Bev (#19)

Bev - Are you feeling hormonal or something?

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#21 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 14:20

Luddite to Steve (#20)

I'm surprised you have time to be on here Bev - shouldn't you be out burning your bra somewhere?

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#22 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 14:46

Steve to Luddite (#21)

Bev - Maybe you should have chained both hands to the railings, thus sparing us your comments.

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#23 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
20/03/2008 15:41

Lionel to Steve (#22)

Bev, time of the month?

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#24 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
23/03/2008 20:50

New Mother to Lionel (#23)

Am appalled to see the responses from some people...firstly it is the quality of work someone does, not the hours they spend at work Anon. I work in consulting and as long as people get the work done I have no issue whether they come in late or leave early. Actually a lot of the time the resources that are constantly working late are not efficient because they are sooo tired....

Also, I think the biggest issue is that it is always the woman that has to take flexi-time - why don't we encourage men to do this? If men took time off too, did flexi time etc. then it would not be an issue for women only and it would be normal to work in this way...after all to make a baby takes a man AND a woman so why should it be only the woman who works flexi=time? I have spoken to partners who agree they would like to do this to spend more time with their children but culturally this is still not accepted, which is really sad....

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#25 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
23/03/2008 21:17

anon to New Mother (#24)

Men don't have lactating nipples.

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#26 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
23/03/2008 22:15

Lets get back to the point to anon (#25)

Still no proper answer to one of the earlier points on this thread:

Why should the rest of the team suffer if some people are unable to pull their weight due to personal circumstances?

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#27 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
24/03/2008 08:35

pacamack to Lets get back to the point (#26)

If you're using time as a proxy for weight then I think you're in the wrong career!

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#28 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
25/03/2008 22:51

KL to Lets get back to the point (#26)

People having the time to bring up their family properly is rightly seen as being more of a contribution to society than the extra hours put in by some twat of a consultant who is devoting their whole life to a project, under the guise of "I care about the client" but really because they wish to further their own career.

So you might think that you are the hero for staying late whilst someone else goes home to look after their family - but actually it's them who are doing the really valuable work, you're just too narrow-minded to see it.

And I'm single, ambitious guy btw, working long hours; but I respect and even help as much as I can to make life easier for those with families.

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#29 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
25/03/2008 23:20

LK to KL (#28)

Either that or you are a chump trying self justify your longer hours and harder work (for probably no extra reward) as a meaningful contribution to society.

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#30 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
26/03/2008 07:36

KL to LK (#29)

Sorry to disappoint but I'm doing very well in my career (two promotions in 12 months).

I would just like to hope that when I have a family myself I will be able to juggle both career and family.

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#31 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
26/03/2008 17:54

confused - MC to KL (#30)

I must say the response to my original post has been interesting - I guess I can conclude that if I do start a family, to expect a mixed bag of reaction from my consulting peers! From my past experience and observing other consultants with young families, it seems it's all about increasing work efficiency, being self-disciplined and thick-skinned enough to make family commitments a priority and making the best use of laptop/remote access at night after the kids are asleep!

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#32 RE: Female consultant and starting a family?!?
26/03/2008 18:52

Panter to confused - MC (#31)

I'm currently running a team of 4 at a public sector client. 1 of the team has just returned after 12 months or so of mat leave - I'd never met her before she started.

The rest of us are quite happy to flex our schedules to allow her to attend meetings etc without travelling too much. The firm culture is one of Mon & Fri at home, so it's not impossible. In return, she has been happy to cover for us when required.

From a project management viewpoint, I have been able to take advantage of the fact that she is not bogged down at the client site and can maintain an overview, keep us all updated on location changes etc. Is this the role of a glorified secretary? No - because she's too skilled to be used in that way.

I would say that the only challenge is to the way we expect to work with a client. So far there have been no related problems and the other members of the team have all taken more time off with unplanned absences than she has.

As has been discussed on this forum before, we all do such different work, extrapolating across jobs, organisations and sectors is all but meaningless.

I would guess the type of firm and clients are all but irrelevant in terms of the original point. If you want to be valued for what you do and given the chance to earn people's respect, choose a company run by empowered managers who are left to run their own teams and engage properly with a discussion about work-life balance.

We are not recruiting at the moment but in my co a colleague stated at interview that he would not travel on Thurs or Fri and the co were happy with this and have kept their word.

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