For many parents returning to work, flexibility is considered one of the most important deciding factors. Chloë Terriere, an Employer Branding Consultant based in Belgium, shares her experience about returning to work after maternity leave and how she’s now balancing her career and family life.
Finding a new job after a maternity break
After the birth of her first child, Chloë decided to look for a new job. And as her priorities changed, so did her requirements from an employer. “I was particularly interested in knowing how they could support my career and give me the opportunity to spend enough time with my family.”
Whilst Chloë was offered a number of roles, she was unable to take them as they didn’t offer the flexibility she needed. She says, “I had several interviews, but couldn’t accept a job which was located too far from home or meant working late hours, as my son was only two years old at the time.”
Chloë was also concerned that her age might put recruiters off. “I was only 26 which I feared could lead to discrimination during the interview process; that’s why I was afraid to disclose this piece of information to recruiters.”
Life at SThree as a mum
Chloë found a role at SThree which offered everything she needed from her new job. “During my first few weeks here, I gained confidence regarding my new working arrangements and the work-life balance I’d formed for myself.”
She explains that because SThree understand the need for flexibility, she was able to further her career without missing out on important moments as a parent. “From day one, I’ve been open with my manager, saying I had a young child to take care of. She’s a mum too, and was really understanding.”
“I was given the option to work from home should something unexpected happened, for example if my son was sick or the nursery was closed. I could also take advantage of a flexible schedule when needed, and none of my colleagues made me feel guilty when I had to leave earlier to pick up my son.”
A second baby, and a new chance!
In 2016, Chloë fell pregnant with her second child and was worried that it might impact her professional life; particularly when she had to take some unexpected time off. As she explains, “The beginning of the pregnancy went really well, but then I had some health problems and had to stay at home for two months. I was afraid I’d be pushed aside but the whole team made sure I was ok, telling me that I shouldn’t worry and should focus on taking care of my baby and myself.”
After a few months rest, Chloë felt well enough to return to work before maternity leave. And when she did, SThree made sure she felt comfortable. “I went back to work one month before going on maternity leave. Those five weeks went really smoothly; my managers gave me new projects to work on, and ensured I wasn’t too stressed or tired.”
And while on maternity leave, an opportunity came up at work that Chloë was perfectly suited to. “After the birth of my daughter, I enjoyed every single moment with my family, not thinking too much about going back to work. But then, during my maternity leave, an internal position opened in our office, and my manager immediately contacted me to offer me the job.”
“I’m definitely a happy working mum!”
Chloë went on to accept the role and returned to work at the end of her maternity leave. But even then, she was given flexibility. As she explains, “It was a personal choice, as I was looking forward to taking on this new challenge, but the whole management team have been really kind and open-minded, allowing me to come to work later if needed.”
When asked how she’s finding the new role, Chloë says, “I’m very happy. I was welcomed with open arms by my team and colleagues. I now have a work schedule which fits my family life. I can drive the kids to school or nursery in the morning, and pick them up not too late at the end of the afternoon so that we can spend some precious time together.”
If you’d like to find out more about the flexibility arrangements we offer at SThree in Belgium and what career opportunities are currently available, get in touch with Chloë.