My partner often jokes that he will kick me out to work after 2 years’ grace. “Pick up the scalpel, Jac,” he would sometimes comment, though there is no one alive who is more supportive of my ambition to be a writer than he. I think he appreciates the fact that this is the first time in my life that I am able to follow my ambition, rather than – since the age of 17 – work to feed, clothe and educate my many children. I am also fortunate that I do not need much in my simple and small life, and have earned enough in my early career years (I am 48) to take it easy. But the thought of doing something meaningful crosses my mind now and then.
In summer, my father hopefully enticed me into the recruitment effort of Hampshire Air Ambulance Service. The booth was already closing but my dad legged it over and got the paperwork for me. OK, daddy, I hear you.
The fear of not being able to rejoin the workforce is often the reason why many people do not take career breaks, whether for starting own business, looking after children, travel or introspection. I believe it is so very important, because we only live once.
Thus, I am glad that there are increasingly more effort being put in to help mothers (and fathers) who are returning to work. If you sign up to Mumsnet UK, you will find jobs suitable for stay-at-home mothers, like marking exam papers from home. However, Mumsnet also advertises other jobs including at the MI6!!!! I have always fancied being James Bond.
Here’s a good one for mathematicians and scientists out there, a fellowship with the Daphne Jackson Trust for those wishing to restart their careers: