After receiving my MBA from Columbia Business School , and early in my career as a venture capitalist, leaving my profession behind was unimaginable. I was too busy traveling the world to find the next best deal and, therefore, establishing a family was not a priority or even a thought. I could never understand how some women go through the trouble of higher education and then leave it behind to become stay-at-home moms. I didn't get it until it happened to me…
Yes, I got pregnant with my son. So, I thought “3 months of maternity leave and then I am back to work full force.” Little did I know that when the time came to go back to work, I could not do it. I could not imagine leaving him behind day in and day out from 8am to 7pm (not to mention my 3-4 days per week travel schedule). He was too little and my time with him was too precious to be transferred to a nanny. My profession does not easily lend itself to part-time employment, therefore, at the time that approach seemed to be pointless. What a tough choice it was! I needed to give up that sought after, high-salaried corporate job and put the Columbia MBA on the shelf for changing diapers and attending to his day-to-day needs. So, what happened to all those years of studying, working, and training? Was I going to throw it all out?
Fortunately, I became creative and decided to use my best professional asset: my personal contacts. I began to reach out to my network of friends, family, and colleagues. During my son's nap times, I would schedule calls and talk to people about what I can offer with my finance background and my work experience. I also attended a number of different venture capital conferences where I networked with small companies potentially looking to hire a finance person. I tried to target small companies because they usually do not have the resources to hire full-time employees and as such would look at part-time talent. And finally, it happened! My first client found me through a friend who thought I would be a good fit for their needs. My second client was an old colleague who was looking for a part-time CFO. I had another client who was referred to me by an old business school classmate. Finally, I was up and running in my home office with a number of part-time clients.
So, if you ever find yourself in my predicament, here are some steps that you may want to take as you consider your search. With some ingenuity and effort you can pursue a fulfilling career while undertaking your family responsibilities.