Lynn Barham, Personal Travel Consultant

Name: Lynn Barham

Age: 56

Number of children: 2 + 2!

Job title: Personal Travel Consultant

Duties: Homeworker, organising everything from flights to accommodation, bespoke itineraries to package holidays, spa days to major sporting events in the UK and overseas.  With no shop front, constantly working on ways of expanding my customer network.  Talking a lot on the phone to really understand my customer’s needs and working with their given budget to help create a perfect holiday – all the while offering advice and opinions on locations and experiences.  Advising clients on changing travel requirements and sitting for a large part of the day, toggling between various supplier websites to get the very best package and price I can for a client. Self-development is important too and I diary at least 8 hours every week for this.

Hours: 24/7 availability. At times this will obviously be in the form of an answering message, but I pride myself on getting back to customers in a quick time frame – I don’t want to lose any potential ‘customer for life’.

Childcare arrangements: Due to the age of my children, I don’t have childcare arrangements.  A care responsibility I do have though is for an elderly relative who is not local to me.  Her needs are weekly, variable and often must be acted on quickly. This relationship, coupled with the delight of my first grandchild born in July has led me to the decision not to return to a 9–5, Monday – Friday job where I have to ask for permission to take time off and be restricted to a 4-week holiday entitlement every year.

What I love about work: I am passionate about travel so really enjoy helping people plan and book their dream holidays and making new friendships through this service. Getting great feedback from a happy customer!  Diversity – no two days are the same. Looking at a computer screen with cruise ships, blue skies and sandy beaches (and I’m not talking about my screensaver) is so much more uplifting to me than a spreadsheet.

What I find difficult is: Rejection and trying not to take it personally – when spending time creating a perfect holiday, that has ticked every box of my customer’s needs and then you don’t hear from them again. Dealing with circumstances outside my control – I am hoping there will not be ash clouds any time soon!

My working life would be easier if… I had more hours in the day and a Costa Coffee outlet in my kitchen for that instant caffeine fix!

Work/mum life balance: Good.  For me it is now a work/wife and mum balance.  One of the things my husband said to me when I left my last job, which was particularly stressful and time demanding, was “It’s so nice to have my wife back” ……….a statement from the heart that really made me think!

How having children has changed the work I do: For me it is the above statement from my husband, the needs of my elderly (93) aunt and now grandchildren that have influenced the choice of my work.  However, I also love the fact that my children have told me how proud they are of me, stepping into a new industry and career, and see me as a continuing role model in their lives!

Fantasy job / If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be… A tour guide – travelling the world with my husband and having big long catch ups with our family when we got home!

Mojomums helps mums get their mojo back – what advice would you give to mums who feel they have lost theirs? I remember crying once that my ‘baby brain’ would mean that no one would ever employ me again, despite having had senior roles before becoming a mum! Confidence takes such a battering and particularly with technology moving so fast.  My advice would be reconnecting with people you used to work with.  Even if you are not going back to the same workplace, these people will naturally buoy your confidence levels and want to encourage you.  Take a temporary job as soon as you can and you will understand that it is only you that doubts your credibility.  With self-worth being important to you, you won’t let yourself down. It’s also a way of meeting other working mums who will undoubtedly be able to relate to your fears and help with the inevitable questions you have and that they asked themselves when they started back to work.

Anything else? I appreciate I might not have the same demographic as many Mojomums followers, however I can relate to being a working mum when all four children were small.  I chose a job then that would allow me flexibility to attend every swimming gala, school play, sports day etc. but appreciated that I was financially contributing to the family and I was able to retain an identity other than just “mum of ………’!

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