We mums tend to get a bad professional reputation: disorganised, chaotic, just going through the motions before we can escape to the domestic world we miss. Couldn’t be further from the truth? Here’s how to get ahead at work.
1. Demonstrate your results
Whether it’s your appraisal or quarterly review, don’t assume your employer will be aware of what you’ve achieved for the company. Keep a log of numbers, results and demonstrable skill in how you dealt with situations. These are what determine salary increases, bonuses and promotions. If you don’t point these out, often no-one else will!
2. Be flexible
Most businesses try to make sure everyone’s able to attend company events – but only up to a point. Flex your hours around key meetings so you’re not left behind just because your hours are unconventional.
3. Utilise ‘mum time’
Companies often produce documentation that’s had a great deal of strategic thought injected into it – which no-one reads! Get ahead on company direction and protocols by reading these. Don’t have time? Read them while the kids are at swimming lessons, or on the train into work. Whether it’s the Employee Handbook when you join a company or their annual strategic review, it’ll help you produce work and ideas that are aligned with the corporate direction.
4. Stand out
Make a point of taking on prominent projects or trips, volunteer for high profile events and aim to win team incentives. It’ll make you stand out as an exceptional employee who can handle a challenge and be relied upon.
5. Be visible
Working part-time or from home? Make sure you’re in when the regional manager is visiting, when other part-time staff are in, and for deadlines and company meetings. Try to see lots of people; go for coffee with colleagues. And keep communication at an optimum, especially when working from home. It’ll make sure you’re not forgotten about just because you’re not always at your desk!
6. Optimise time management
Cancel the stereotype: We mums are second to none when it comes to time management! Before the weekend, plan the following week to optimise your time. Allocate time to tasks, determine what you need to achieve in terms of specific activities. If you want time to chat, get in early; but use your working day to produce results.
7. Keep informed
We may not have time to read all the papers and keep up on everything. But being across what’s going on in your company and their market arena is important. So set up feeds from social networking sites for your company and their key competitors. Watch relevant TV programmes where you can. It’ll definitely give you an edge in today’s competitive workplace!
8. Don’t miss the socials
Don’t underestimate how much is negotiated at work socials. While spontaneous drinks are a no-go for those of us with childcare to juggle, you needn’t miss out. Remove the myth that mums don’t go out, or ‘him indoors’ won’t let you! Organise childcare for arranged work do’s, and plan drinks with key colleagues in advance. Many a professional alliance has been forged over a glass of wine after work!