Only Two Options?


Liz Johnson

on •

Apr 7, 2021

Only Two Options?

Our commitment to our people, our craft, and our desire to approach work differently is core to who we are. With Artium Stories, we take a look at the approach to these instances, big or small, successes or challenges. We celebrate the wins, but we also know to examine when we get it wrong so that we can always strive to be better. By sharing these stories, we can hold ourselves accountable and grow, as well as give back to the communities we serve in the form of insights as we learn along the way.

This story is from Liz Johnson about her journey of becoming a mom and facing a reality in which there are seemingly only two options.

“For many first-time moms in corporate positions, it seems like there are only two options - work full-time or stay home full-time.  Working full-time means that you are sacrificing time you’d rather be spending with your kids.  I am not sure of anyone who would say this is not true.  But you continue to do something that you are passionate about and have likely poured hours and years into studying and practicing. Staying home full time means you get that time with your kids but it does feel like you are losing one more part of yourself that you probably weren’t ready to lose.

My mom went back to work as a power engineer after staying home with her kids for 12 years.  She said that the hardest thing about going back to work after that long is that you have to start over because your experience is usually somewhat outdated. Especially as a software developer, I couldn’t imagine how different technology would look in 12 years. It was somewhat daunting to think about.

But I just couldn’t leave my babies for that much time every week.  The position I started shortly after having my firstborn was easily the coolest job I had ever had.  But every day I dreaded going because the commute + hours was so long I barely saw my brand new baby. During the periods of time that I have been unemployed though I missed writing code, learning new technologies, and solving problems in the way that I used to.

Turns out that there are not only two options.

I have found a very small handful of roles that would allow me to truly have the best of both worlds.  At Artium I was given the opportunity to fill a need that they had but still enjoy slow mornings with my babies still in their pajamas at lunchtime.  I also get to put them to bed every night. I get to stay connected to the industry and bring value to the incredible work they are doing.  Sounds too good to be true right?

I’m realizing that finding creative solutions is characteristic of everything Artium does.  They listen to their clients (or in my case, their candidates) and do their best to find a solution that works well for everyone.  I was initially contacted about a full-time role.  They could have heard my story and, in the interest of finding people quickly and getting them through the process, just pushed me forward without much thought.  Instead, they took the time to hear my story and find a great solution that works best for everyone involved.  It was more effort but it made a big impact.

‍If companies want to see more mothers in the workplace they may need to get creative. Mothers spend a lot of their days finding creative solutions to problems.  Sometimes these problems seem silly. If your three-year-old would just agree to ride their bike home from the park you wouldn’t have to figure out how to put two kids safely in a single stroller, push them, and carry the bike all the way home. But the time and effort you put towards solving these problems is significant.  It shows your child that they are seen and heard and that they matter enough to find a solution.

Mothers spend a lot of their days being unseen and unheard and it’s easy for a mom to feel like they don’t matter to most of the world.  Creative solutions to get them into the workplace can fill needs a company has in really very effective ways, but also have a major impact on the person filling that position.”