Two weeks before I was due back to work as a creative at my London advertising agency, I was invited for lunch with my boss and the HR lady and offered voluntary redundancy. They implied that they were doing me a favour as my ‘circumstances might have changed’. Nope.
They tried to make me feel like I didn’t really want to return and I hadn’t been acting very enthusiastically about returning. They said that they would hire me back as a freelancer to ‘help write children’s books’. Because obviously this is all that I would be able to work on now.
They didn’t offer my male counterpart voluntary redundancy, they wanted to offer it to me first as a ‘treat’. After consulting a lawyer he told me this was illegal and I ended up getting more than double the measly amount they offered me. And luckily I’ve found a new job with a genuinely pro-working-parents attitude.
Advice to women in the advertising industry – always contact a lawyer (they’re cheaper up north!) to get advice before signing anything. And there are jobs out there for working parents. I promise.