Camilla writes the eclectic lifestyle and parenting blog, flamingomonroe.com and her career in marketing includes roles at some of the world’s biggest glossy magazine and newspaper brands.
Since having her son a year ago, Camilla is now self-employed, working on her blog as well as doing freelance marketing along with events for national brands, local businesses and personal clients.
Check out her guest post:
Heavily pregnant and made redundant
Since gaining my first job at a magazine publisher aged 20, I’d relished the London ‘media lifestyle’ – rubbing shoulders with celebrities, walking red carpets, enjoying press days and beauty launches (including an abundance of free gifts). I moved between glossy magazines and red-top tabloids, working my way up the marketing ladder supporting my media owners and our brand partners with their awareness and promotional conquests.
At 36 weeks pregnant, while sat (un) comfortably at my desk, writing my maternity handover notes in fact, I was informed by my director that I was being made redundant.
I left his office, holding back the tears and cradling my bump, reassuring us both that everything would work out fine, fearing for our future.
When I truly reflect, my redundancy was no surprise, really. I’d had a feeling that a head-count was imminent and sadly marketing roles are often the first affected. We are often regarded as a cost to the business.
I’d struggled to imagine going back to my full-time post on top of 3-hours daily travel with the logistics, childcare and finances involved with a child and the full-time childcare options I’d explored were extortionate but I didn’t expect to have the choice taken from me or that part-time work wouldn’t be an option there anymore.
Was I surprised? No. Shocked, yes. Many say (and have said) that a company is brave to make a heavily pregnant woman redundant. Friends and colleagues relentlessly asked whether it was legal and if they could legitimately does this to me. It appears they could.
I must say, it wasn’t a personal attack, my ex-employers were sensitive about the issue and I didn’t feel I was being discriminated against at the time, but it wasn’t ideal either. I felt ashamed at losing my job and was consumed with worried about the lack of financial security ahead.
The fact remained, that at 39 weeks pregnant, I was unemployable. No one was going to offer me a job that close to birth. I wondered whether in a challenging industry, my magazine career ended? Had it all been a waste of time?
Then, on 23.12.2016, I met my son.
NOTHING. ELSE. MATTERED for those early days and months.
Remembering when Henry’s hand clutched my little finger for the first time, seeing his first smile and hearing him giggle and later take his first steps beat EVERY career highlight to date.
I realised that my ex-employer’s world would continue without me, but my little bundle’s could not.
Motherhood changed me, giving me a new-found perspective, purpose and happiness.
I didn’t choose to be made redundant, however, but once I settled into motherhood, it gave me the impetus to rediscover my career mojo and inspiration.
I’ve now entered the scary freelance world with my blog, marketing, event planning and brand consultancy work, enabling me to turn my self-employed dream into a reality. I’m currently wearing comfy clothes in a nearby coffee shop typing away. No commute, no office politics and no haggling for flexible working! #mumboss
Being self-employed allows me to work my own hours, i.e. when Henry sleeps and during his two nursery days which are doing him the world of good whilst giving me time to grow my business!
I’m still Henry’s primary carer, we go to groups and enjoy everyday together but I now have a work/life balance I’m in control of.
Nature will decide if I have more children. Maybe one day I will end up back in a full-time desk job. Who knows, but for now, life is working out just fine.
Redundancy and first time motherhood combined with a job change in a short space of time has been an emotional whirlwind and I’ve got a long way to go before I earn a significant income but I now appreciate every penny I earn.
Enforced change can be good, in fact, it’s proving to be terrific.