BY KELLY MULLANE AKA https://citymumblog.wordpress.com
So I called this blog ‘City Mum’ because I’m a mum and I work in the City. To be honest, I don’t work in the City as such….my office is in Canary Wharf really. I do work for one of those giant financial institutions (although mine had nothing to do with the credit crisis…promise!) and I’ve been in this world for 8 years now. Before joining the universe of corporate policies and multiple computer screens, I was in the Army. I served for 7 years, I went to Iraq (twice) as well as other places, and although I was by no means the toughest mutha in the platoon (I wasn’t married nor a mum at that point and most of my old Army buddies will remember me as the chubby (okay, fat) jolly bird who was good at languages (I was an interpreter), I was pretty resilient in my own way – I achieved a bunch of stuff, made it to the rank of Captain and was pretty self-confident despite not looking fabulous in uniform (but let’s face it, only the very lucky ones do)).But then came the day that I decided to have a go in the ‘real world’. I uploaded my CV onto a load of websites and got a call a few weeks later from a retired Infantry Major who wanted to know whether I was interested in a role in the ‘City’. My first question was ‘which city?” (I kid you not!) And then once I had been thoroughly patronized, I stuck on my M&S suit, polished my sensible shoes and headed to St Paul’s to learn all about Investment Banking and how I had ‘transferable’ skills aplenty that these giant conglomerates would lap up in spades! And do you know what? They did!!Five roles in three different companies later, a fabulous female mentor or two (my first boss in the City was an incredible woman who taught me all about fabulous shoes and that civvies were all shit and wouldn’t do what I asked – even if I asked nicely)* I am now a slimmer (stress, coffee, a variety of crap, sawdust-based soup diets and then finally being sensible at slimming world!) and more stylish (much better wages and better shopping opportunities) version of that Army girl. I still like being in charge, I don’t like being questioned and watch yourself if you undermine me in any way (Immi and Ted don’t seem to understand this yet). I crack on with tasks – often not bothering to think about the wider strategic picture (Ooh how I remember the Combat Estimate – as long as my two-up boss has given me the steer, I know what I need to do – why do I need to check with absolutely everyone and their managers?! Oooooh, decisions by committee…what fun! FFS!)So what’s it like as a mum in the City? I have literally no time – as mentioned in all my early blog, I’m still in a minority group and I’m often the only woman in the meeting. Oh and I’m not paid as much as my male colleagues but that’s all starting to change. There are lots of women’s networks discussing women breaking through those glass ceilings, corporate policies, important business ideas and preparing for the next generations to join us in the workplace and nothing like how the old boys, desperate to hold on to the power, refer to us. No, we are not knitting groups! Christ, my bra literally self-ignited after hearing that little gem recently! But to honest, I’m much the same as any other working mum – I prepare my work outfit the night before (who has time to hunt for that other earring?!), I scrape food off my shoulders before getting to the office, I’m always surgically connected to my mobile in case school or our childminder (Mary Poppins) calls. I leave the office early even though I’ll be working much later that everyone else and I need a ‘mummy pass’ to join in with the office drinks on a Thursday night (thanks to the long-suffering bearded one who never says no!). I like being a City mum – I don’t always like my job but coming home to my little rays of sunshine is always the best welcome home ever. And I always hold on to the fact that although a lot of these City-types think they’re masters of the universe, they haven’t really experienced much outside this bubble of a world – and I’ve definitely got one or two up on them there!* She didn’t mean all civvies – only some of them! And she didn’t actually say ‘civvies’ – she said ‘people’ but at the time, ‘civvies’ is what I heard!