I cannot express how much difference the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme made to reigniting both my career and my confidence writes PM Hannah Williams. (Hannah is currently looking to fill a gap before her next contract, so if you need a PM let her know: https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/11460/hannah-williams-lovell)
Since returning last August I was mentored by the wonderful Becky Parkinson at Merman. After a lovely chat and first meeting I suddenly found myself as one of the Merman team managing the Post in the UK for Frayed – an extremely exciting, funny and brilliantly written new comedy drama by Sarah Kendall.
This mainly involved coordinating Australian and UK post to work harmoniously together, as the show was shot (predominantly) in Australia and post was being split between the two countries. It couldn’t have been more perfect as it was almost exclusively home-based, aside from a few meetings or visits to the post facility in Soho.
I split 3 days across 5 which worked perfectly around my 3 children. Working with Australia came in quite handy when my children are creatures of unsociable hours anyway so I could catch up with the team in Melbourne first thing/last thing and still pick up/drop off my children at school. It just required a bit of multi-tasking and careful use of my time.
In my first few weeks back to work I felt slightly rusty but Becky was inordinately supportive and I knew I could always ask if I needed help. As it turns out, maternity leave hadn’t sapped all traces of experience and I found that I settled back into it quite quickly and loved it. Initially the contract was 6 months but I was kept on for a while longer and am hoping to rejoin them at some point in the future.
Since Merman, I took on some pre-production for a new children’s animation (which was also working exclusively from home) and am now actively looking for my next venture.
I think what this process has taught me is that I may have been out of the industry over enormous changes to tapeless or 4K but technical gaps can be answered by a simple question (or extensive google). Even the people who haven’t left the industry are still asking questions and are learning. Skills will never leave you but new knowledge can always be obtained if you need it.
The invaluable pep talk with Amy at the beginning of this journey, all those months ago in Edinburgh, still rings in my head today. Even if you have been out it does not erase all the hard work you have put in prior to babies. You are still the same person as you were with the same skills and the same talent so never make excuses for yourself.
The scheme has helped me hold onto that and regain the confidence to still see myself as a valuable asset, even if I have to be more specific about my hours and work schedule. So thank you Amy for calling me from your holiday when I had emailed you in two minds about the scheme. I really appreciated that as the support from Media Parents and the mentors from this scheme has been invaluable.
And to those of you who are a little shaky about going back to work or are thinking about applying for this year’s Back to Work Scheme if it goes ahead – DO IT! The worst that can happen is that you meet some amazing people, gain invaluable networking skills and get to have an incredible mentor and new network to support you. And if that’s the worst that can happen then you have no excuse!