Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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Returning to STEM

3.6 What does it feel like? Coping with conflicting roles

Apart from practical considerations, there are emotional issues that you will need to think about with regard to returning to work. If you live with other people – especially a partner or children – what do they think about your plan to go back to work? How will it affect them? Will they have to take on additional responsibilities at home or organising daily life? How do they feel about this? What will others in your extended family think? There is also the consideration of other roles you have had while you haven’t been in paid work. Are you able to make a transition away from this if you need to?

Mothers, in particular, can feel others are critical of their decision to return to work. However, attitudes towards ‘working mothers’ have changed as the numbers of women with children also doing paid work have increased in recent years.

That said, you may still encounter criticism from others and most people have feelings of guilt or conflict about their changing role.

Activity 8 The impact of conflicting roles

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Now make notes about how you feel about your return to work. What would your preferred work pattern involve for others who depend on you? How will you and they prepare to cope with the changes ahead?

Now listen to how Azu, who talks about coping with guilt when juggling conflicting priorities.

Download this video clip.Video player: return_to_stem_week5vid7_512x256.mp4
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The guilt is starting to go. It’s interesting. Again it’s-- you do end up having to talk yourself around sometimes.
But you can’t be at every single work meeting. You can’t be at every single small thing that school have put on. It’s great actually that there’s a-- the choice that schools put on now. But you can’t be there.
And I learnt a great tip last week, that actually, if it’s worrying you that much, ask your children or ask your boss, does it really matter that I wasn’t there that day or that I’m not going to be there that day? And generally, 9 times out of 10, they’d be like, what are you talking about? I don’t-- So the stories we make up in our head isn’t there.
But guilt will always be there. I think it’s what drives us, actually. And the guilt thing, actually, you start to then question what is important to you. And I suppose if there’s too many things, too many guilty things that you can’t get your head around, then you might have to question why you’re doing it.
End transcript
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