Apprentice star and vice-chairperson of West Ham United FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today she helps out an employee who has come back from maternity leave but feels as though she has lost some responsibility in her position and a woman who wants to enter the care sector without any experience.
Q. I’ve just come back from maternity leave and although I’m doing the same job as before I left, I feel as though I’ve been demoted, while some of my colleagues seem to have taken on more senior roles.
The person who covered my position had less experience than me and I’ve heard people say she struggled with the workload.
I love being a mum, but my career is also important. How do I claw back the responsibility I’ve lost?
Helen, via email
A. I think this is quite a common feeling that mothers experience when they’ve been away from their workplace. The business has had to keep functioning and moving forward, and has no doubt been through changes while you’ve been taking on your new role as a mother, and it can be difficult to adapt once you return.
It sounds like your company has had to distribute some of your responsibilities away from the person who was struggling to cover you in order to operate. But this doesn’t have to be a negative, as it could give you the opportunity to evolve your role.
First, I would suggest that you look over your original job description if you have one and note what you are still responsible for and what has been taken away from you. It may be that the responsibilities you’ve lost are the least favourite parts of your job!
Then consider if there are areas within the company that you would like to work more closely in, and how you’d like your role to develop. Proving you are motivated to progress will show how important you are to your company, so sit down with your manager and explain what responsibilities you’d like back or what additional ones you could take on. However, make sure you’re being realistic and can deliver what you suggest.
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Q. During lockdown, I did some volunteering helping look after vulnerable members of my community.
I found it so fulfilling that I’m now thinking about how I could make this work as a career.
I don’t have any experience in the care sector as I’ve always worked in retail. Do you have any advice on how to go about applying for care roles?
Erin, via email
A. Thank you for helping take care of some of our more vulnerable people during a very difficult time. The fact you volunteered to help, using your time kindly and compassionately, shows what a valuable person you would be to any care role.
You don’t necessarily need qualifications or previous experience to start a career in social care. What’s really important is your values and attitude towards working with people who need support.
Research what kind of care work you’d like to do. Talk to people who work in organisations you volunteered for to see how they started and progressed – and to see if they have any paid roles coming up.
Some of society’s most important roles don’t pay the highest salaries, but the fulfilment and satisfaction you gain should prove very rewarding. Best of luck.
Compiled by: Claire Frost
Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.