Late last year, I was offered my dream job – serving on the executive team of an influential NGO reporting directly to the impressive female CEO.

But when the offer was made, I became paralysed with fear. How would I manage a demanding full-time role plus my responsibilities as a sole parent – to myself and my children

The job had flexibility and was family-friendly. I could work two days from home; a nine-day fortnight; an early start or a late finish; even five-days-in-seven. The organisation wanted me on board, and they wanted to make it easy for me to say yes.Yet I knew that early morning phone calls and late night emails were unavoidable in a senior role. I would be tapping out texts as I made my children breakfast and returning to my desk after they were asleep. I would be too exhausted in the evening to ask them about their day, let alone read them a story.

With regret, I declined the job. I subsequently took a part-time role at an equally excellent workplace, albeit with less pay and less seniority. It was a difficult and pragmatic decision – made in the best interests of my family.

This is an edited extract of an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age online on 22 June, 2022, titled “Choosing part-time work helped to keep me sane”. You can read more here.