The HR Juggler

Day 6: Sinead Carville’s Highlights and Horrors of 2011

Posted on: December 6, 2011

Today’s post comes from the lovely Sinead Carville, a relatively new Twitter acquaintance of mine (@SineadCarville) and certainly someone who I am enjoying getting to know better. I love the fact that the invitation to write a guest post has brought her out of the ‘lurking’ shadows and into the limelight of blogging herself…I must also confess to hoping that she develops a taste for it, as I’d love to read more from her… 😉
Having seen Alison’s post for guest bloggers during the month of December, I was immediately intrigued. Over the past few months as well as becoming a fan of Twitter, I have become what some might call a blog stalker! Some content has prompted me to make real changes to things within my control, others have provoked my thinking and opinions on certain issues and some have just made me mad! But they have all moved me in some way and for that I am appreciative for the time that people have taken to share their thoughts and opinions. But writing myself, well that prospect is scary, right? And so this is my first blog.

Horror or highlight? Well for me it has certainly been a challenging and unexpected year. 2011 started with me enjoying the final months of maternity leave. Work and all things HR were a distant memory and I was enthralled in nappies, formula and Iggle Piggle.

Fast forward to June and the time was upon me to return to my role of Training and Development Manager and all that it entailed. I went through all the usual emotions that mums do when leaving their little ones but mainly guilt (mummy guilts are the worst!). Partly because I looked forward to regaining my professional life and all that went with it. Don’t get me wrong I will always cherish the time I had with my little boy but, a little bit of me was lost when I was at home every day and I wanted to have that bit back. I was really enthusiastic about returning to work. Everything was going to be just as it was, right? Wrong.

Time had not stood still. Lots of change had taken place when I was away and my department was evolving. I felt like a new starter without the support that a new starter would be afforded. So for a few weeks I cruised along and tried to settle back into the organisation but I found it tough. I felt like a spare cog in a very big wheel, and that is not a pleasant feeling let me tell you. Now some would say, and they would probably be right, that an organisation has a duty to ensure that people who take time out of the business are offered support and communication on their return. But the individual can take ownership of this too and that is just what I did.

I decided that if I wanted things to change I would have to initiate it and own it. I reminded people of why I had been employed and what I was capable of. I raised my hand in the air and let people know that I was back and that all my ambition, drive and ability were still there. I grabbed hold of new projects, opportunities and delivered and as a result I made things happen.

Fast-forward another few months and I am being offered a new role as Human Resources Manager and instead of observing the evolution that was taking place in my organisation I was part of it.

So what have I learned this year? Well, I now know that if you really want to make something happen you should, and you must get involved in this. Waiting for things to happen to you or opportunities to come and knock on your door could mean they pass you by. Remember the saying ‘if it’s for you it won’t pass you’? Well I think if it’s for you go and get it. If it is really worthwhile and important to you it will be worth the hard work and steely determination that you will put in to get there.

So what will next year bring? Well after a really engaging strategic meeting for HR 2012 this week I am really excited and optimistic about the year ahead. I am totally focused on what I need to achieve in my new role and I know that I can get there. I also know that along the way whilst there are likely to be challenges and hurdles, I will have the most amazing little boy who whose smile at the end of a busy day will make it all worthwhile.

I would like to wish you all a most amazing Christmas and lots of joy and success in the New Year.

13 Responses to "Day 6: Sinead Carville’s Highlights and Horrors of 2011"

This is a refreshingly honest blog Sinead – There’s not many people put there who are willing to write about the tensions of being a working parent and you have captured the essence of the various stretches and strains. All the best for 2012. Peter

p.s. One day I will return to Iggle Piggle !

Thanks Peter. I think when you are being honest about tensions like that it can be quite scary so I am delighted to know that people are relating to my situation.

Oh and Iggle Piggle rocks!

Fantastic blog Sinead and heartening for all parents as they return into the ever evolving world of work. MASSIVE thumbs up and looking forward to reading/sharing more of your encouraging blogs and thoughts 🙂

Thanks Natasha. So grateful to Alison for opening up her amazing blog and I will definitely blog some more following this 🙂

So good to hear that 🙂 You’ve had an amazing and impressive start for sure!

Totally agree Sinead and thanks on behalf of returners for the postitive words. I’m returning to work from maternity also, in Janary, and can’t wait. Enough with the nappies! I have been using my KIT days to make some real client and coachee related impact (coaching others also on maternity leave!). I have stayed really connected with our business, all of which helps my confident return.
Keep it coming!!

Thanks Nicola. Firstly, enjoy the last few weeks on maternity leave. It really is a precious time. Great to use KIT days to start the transition back to work. Best of luck for January!

Sinead – first of all well done for a lovely first blog post (I too am new to Twitter and now also thinking about blogging – but I will clearly have to “go and get it” if it is to happen!) Second, well done for getting through your “new starter” phase and then seizing the initiative. Finally, you have made me extend some of my thinking … I have thought for a while that many organisations are not getting best value from new recruits because they are poor at the “on-boarding” process, spending time on “this is where the stationery is kept” rather “than this is what we need to achieve, and this is your part in it” – I now see that this should apply to those who are returning to work just as much as new recruits.

Alison – Advent, guest blogs … genius!

Best regards,

Colin (@ColinDWhalen)

Thanks Colin. I am so delighted that this blog has prompted you to consider how you manager those returning to work. I am just about to start work on designing a return to work policy to help managers see the importance of this. Would be happy to discuss once I get into it.


Yes, I would be interested in your policy as it develops. I am also interested in what stops managers from getting returners and new recruits productive ASAP – is it really lack of policy, or is it a matter of manager development / training to realise the value of “speed-to-productivity”?


Excellent post Sinead. I agree with Alison that it’s time for you to get into blogging on a regular basis. Plus, any HR leaders who use the phrase “steely determination” automatically go to the top of my list. Look forward to connecting with you more.


Thanks so much for all the great comments – I agree that Sinead has done a brilliant job and should definitely set up her own blog in the New Year. I’m loving all of the encouragement and engagement that this experiment is producing…thank you so much 🙂

[…] Day 6: Sinead Carville’s Highlights and Horrors of 2011 […]

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