“You have the perfect career as a class teacher. You get school holidays off and finish work at 3.30pm. Why would you change that?” That’s the response I got when I told friends and family, I needed a change to ensure I was a productive worker but also available when my family needed me.
I loved orchestrating lessons and I loved working with children. Their brutal honesty and humour made them excellent company. They told me when my lesson plans worked for them and when it didn’t. They told me if they were hungry and wanted a cracker from the secret food stash that I kept in my classroom, for those “I woke too late for breakfast”. They told me when I wore matching socks and when I’d become “quite big”.
“Yes, I’m growing a baby!” I told them one day. They all cheered. It was heart-warming to see little people thrilled to share my happy news. However, as much I loved being there for the children in my class, I knew I wasn’t going to be available for this new baby if I kept up the workload of working 60 hours+ per week.
The pandemic changed things. As I planned and delivered lessons online and off-line, I found myself trudging through many websites with varying degrees of appeal. I was passionately observant of these aesthetic designs on digital content. My curiosity on how these website experiences were validated, stemming from my background as a psychology graduate, made me take that leap into User Experience (UX) design. I dedicated any spare time to learn. From those few hours on the weekend as I worked, to after I had my baby and I worked while she napped to complete projects.
I spent many months, sleepless nights and dedication to fight for my new career, completing a comprehensive 6-month course on Google UX and building up a portfolio. However, I soon realised breaking into the industry was no easy feat. Especially as a new parent, I wasn’t flexible enough to travel nor was I deemed experienced enough to take charge.
That all changed after I met Tomas, the director at Framework Digital. I was worried about how I would manage being a new parent and the physical commute. He explained his company took pride in flexible working and many employees were parents. He accommodated me by offering a hybrid role, to only travel when needed. More so, music to my ears, he said on our first formal meeting “I would like you to take lead of the redesign for Framework Digital”. I couldn’t wait to share my knowledge to improve the lives of others. I knew this wouldn’t have been possible without the kindness and understanding of my new employer. I was thrilled!
-Written by Shah
We’re so happy Shah’s career change has gone so well and we can now offer her expertise as part of Framework’s evolving offering. Have you had an experience of flexible working – or lack of? Share your story with us!