I worked for a small non-profit religious organization for 3.5 years. For three years, my immediate supervisor, leadership executive, and I had a "Gentlemen's agreement" where in exchange for my higher level skill set and increased responsibility for the constraints on the position he was able to offer to me, I was permitted to have a flexible work schedule so that I could be a more effective parent. Six months ago, he retired and I went on maternity leave for my second child. Unfortunately, neither of these factors, nor communication were handled well by the organization as a whole and within my department. Once I returned from a pro-rated maternity leave, my new supervisor and colleagues were not in favor of continued flexibility for me, and the senior executive decision maker very clearly stated in writing that flexibility for my position was not permitted. I have endured a lot of drama and my experience has been a real eye opener. I find it hypocritical that as a religious organization, the importance of family is heavily emphasized - and preached on at the pulpit - but the organization was not willing to implement flex policies that would actually help their employees put these important values into practice in our everyday lives. Therefore, when I tendered my resignation, my last day was effective today, Oct 15, 2013, in honor of National Work and Family Month and the First National Flex Day. Thank you, Working Mother's Magazine, for bringing light and attention to this much needed business practice of flex, and for allowing me to share my story.
Can’t wait to tune in tomorrow. I think it’s so interesting that out of the 65 percent of working moms who could have a flexible schedule, only 37 percent actually take advantage of it. A recent workplace trend survey conducted on behalf of Mom Corps by Harris Interactive found that almost half (47%) of working adults agree that asking for flexibility would hurt their chances of advancing in their jobs. It’s clear that there is a gap to be bridged between what is being talked about and what is actually being put into practice within the walls of organizations. As business leaders, what do you think can be done to encourage employees to take advantage of these options without feeling like they’re jeopardizing their career development? -Allison O'Kelly, founder/CEO Mom Corps (www.MomCorps.com)