Post written by Jane Hunt, former inaugural CEO at Fitted for Work.

Melanie’s experience is one that we are really familiar with – both in our volunteer group and with the clients we assist. She had been employed in a role she loved in product development with a large organsiation. It was a dynamic job and fun. She went on leave when her first child was born, and when she was preparing to transition back to work, she requested a period of part-time work. She was told that unless she returned full-time, she could not work there. The employer argued that having a part-time job in product development wasn’t possible.

Melanie was devastated and disillusioned. She felt that her stellar track record, commitment and the large number of extra hours she had previously worked were considered of little value. Not surprisingly, she resigned. She looked after her children full-time while she planned the next stage of her career. Luckily for us, she also volunteered assisting women in our Boutique – showing them how to dress and present well for job interviews.

Through volunteering Melanie discovered her passion for styling and coaching women. She helped women blossom and gain confidence – and she was recognised and valued for her skills. Last year she took a break from volunteering to set up her own business, which is growing successfully and now she wants to come back to volunteer again.

I am really proud Fitted for Work helped Melanie in her journey – and I am so pleased that she can now combine her passion for helping women with her work and family.

What a shame, though, that her previous employer lost a great staff member and probably didn’t even realize that it was their inflexibility and unwillingness to accommodate women in their workplace that cost them.