I recently found out that two companies (let’s call them A and B) are both planning to open research labs in the UK working on the sort of stuff I specialise in. This wasn’t great timing for me as at the time my son was just 2 months old, but I figured there’s no point in waiting and so fired off emails to my contacts to find out more.
That was how I found myself interviewing at Company A at the same time as being on maternity leave and juggling a toddler and a baby. There’s been a lot of talk lately about sexism in the tech industry, so I was interested to see how this would pan out. Company A were brilliant at arranging things around my schedule. They arranged the initial phone screen for first thing in the morning, which meant my husband could take the kids and get to work just a little late that day. And then, when it was tricky to travel abroad for an interview day, they arranged one close to home when the relevant people were in town, with a break in the middle so I could feed the baby.
I had to squeeze in some revision, and for this I’m grateful to all the help from my husband, in-laws and childminder. There’s also the fact that my second child is a much more easygoing baby than my first! I think back to the early days with my first child, and there’s no way I’d have had the mental energy to contemplate job interviews when she was young.
And, I got offered the job!
Company B also promised to be flexible and accommodating, but for various reasons I decided not to continue with the application there.
The focus on sexism in the media lately has highlighted the industry’s darker side. But it’s not all bad, and one of the big advantages of technology as a career for women is the flexibility of both the work itself and of the other people who work in the industry.