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How to maintain your career through menopause

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Encourage discussions about menopause in the workplace to foster understanding and support.
  • Implement flexible working conditions to help manage menopausal symptoms effectively.
  • Provide access to health services and educational programs about menopause to both employees and management.

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life, yet it often comes with symptoms that can disrupt daily life and work. Many women feel unprepared for the impact of menopause on their professional lives, which can range from mild inconvenience to severe disruption. This article explores practical strategies and insights to help women navigate this challenging period without derailing their careers.

Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 and brings a host of physical and psychological changes due to fluctuating hormone levels. Symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and cognitive difficulties such as memory lapses and decreased concentration can severely impact work performance and confidence.

A 2023 survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development highlighted that two-thirds of women aged 40 to 60 felt their menopausal symptoms negatively impacted their work experience. Furthermore, a study by the Fawcett Society in 2022 revealed that one in ten women had left their jobs due to menopausal symptoms, with eight out of ten reporting a lack of support from their employers.

Personal Stories of Struggle and Success

Kate from Pembrokeshire shares her harrowing experience, "It was truly terrifying. I felt as if I was losing my grip on reality." As a general manager at a travel firm, surrounded by younger colleagues, she felt isolated and misunderstood, which eventually led her to resign from her position. It was only after starting Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) that she realized the necessity of seeking help and noticed a significant improvement in her condition. Unfortunately, by then, it was too late to salvage her career at the travel firm.

Strategies to Keep Your Career on Track

Open Communication

It's crucial for women going through menopause to communicate their needs to their employers. Open discussions about menopause are essential to foster understanding and support within the workplace.

Flexible Working Arrangements

Employers should consider flexible working arrangements to accommodate menopausal symptoms. This could include options for remote work, flexible hours, or part-time positions, which can help women manage their symptoms more effectively without compromising their professional responsibilities.

Health and Wellness Support

Organizations can support menopausal employees by providing access to medical consultations and treatments like HRT. Wellness programs that include stress management, yoga, and meditation can also be beneficial.

Education and Awareness Programs

Workplaces should implement menopause awareness and support programs. Dr. Katherine Kearley-Shiers, a GP specializing in menopause care, suggests, "Awareness and symptom sessions should be held for all employees, and flexible working arrangements should be considered." Such initiatives can help demystify menopause and equip both employees and management with the knowledge to handle its impact effectively.

Menopause should not be a career ender. With the right strategies and support, women can continue to thrive in their professional lives through this natural transition. By fostering an environment of understanding and support, businesses can not only retain experienced staff but also boost overall workplace morale and productivity.

By addressing menopause with sensitivity and support, we can transform the workplace into a supportive environment that recognizes and adapts to the needs of all employees, ensuring that women do not feel they have to choose between their health and their careers.

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