In April I am biting the bullet and speaking at BrightonSEO – a huge and very well known conference among the digital marketing community! Whilst it is the perfect excuse to make a weekend of it in a beautiful seaside setting, it’s also a really valuable event with lots of industry takeaways.
Whilst I am a self-professed introvert, and public speaking is the absolute worst of all my nightmares, I set myself the challenge of delivering a talk about the process of returning to work after having a baby/taking a break from your career. Why? Well, whilst most people would expect to go to an SEO conference to discuss the art, technicalities, the mystery and the frustration of SEO – I also felt that acknowledgement (and guidance) was needed for those who take a break from the fast paced and ever-evolving industry that doesn’t stop or slow for anyone.
Getting back into the digital marketing industry after some time away can be daunting, and completely overwhelming… but there are ways to prepare for that time off that will help make easing yourself back in easier. Your time away could be down to a number of things, mine was for maternity leave, but my talk is also for those that have taken time away from their career to reassess what they want from life, taking a mental health break, a sabbatical or even switching up their specialism within the same industry.
I was gobsmacked to find that 54,000 women lose their jobs every year simply from getting pregnant. A statistic presented on the Pregnant Than Screwed website. This opened a huge can of worms for me as I began researching and learning more about the ‘motherhood penalty.’
Whilst I personally never feared for my job whilst pregnant or planning for my maternity leave, I think it’s a hugely anxiety-inducing time for new parents – something I hadn’t previously considered. Going away to have a child is a huge life changing event in itself, losing your job and financial security is an unnecessary and cruel thing to happen at this poignant moment in life.
As well as taking a look at the data available when it comes to new parents in the UK, I also had a look at some of the findings from the latest ONS report on the current generation of women choosing to have children later and/or choosing not to have children at all. A career-first mentality seems to be the general consensus among working women looking to have children at a time that is suitable to them, so how does this affect the biological clock and fertility issues – particularly for women over the age of 30? I delve into this too.
My talk isn’t focused purely on the challenges that lie in wait for new parents though, rather the main point is ways in which you can prepare for time away from your career and tips on how to return back to the fold – when you’re ready. I hope my personal experience helps anyone feeling worried about getting left behind or suffering huge FOMO when it comes to being out of the loop. Particularly in SEO and digital marketing as an industry!
I hope you can attend either the in-person event or the online version and I very much look forward to the feedback you have on my talk.