Career Re-Entry for the At-Home Parent
So, the difficult decision of ‘staying at home for the first few years’ was made whilst pregnant… the satisfaction of being there for first teeth, first steps, first day at school was achieved over those years… You’re getting a fantastic nanny lined up through Nannyjob for when you have time to go back into work… Everything seems to have fallen perfectly….
And now it’s time to get back into the big wide world of work…. Simple, hey?! Well, not always, actually. As well as the economy altering drastically, many companies now require far more innovative techniques, international networks, cost-saving approaches and collaborations – all leading to suggest that those few years at home, although great for you and your child in so many ways, may actually lead at best a real struggle to find the kind of position that you felt over qualified for before you left work to be a mummy. Or at worst to career suicide.
According to the New York Times, re-entry isn’t just hard, but it can make mums regret the decision they made all those years ago, especially if they are not able to go back to the same company they worked for before. Even if you are lucky enough to still have a position to return to in a firm years after leaving, there are likely to be issues that you’ll be up against.
You’ll be glad to hear, however, that it is not all doom and gloom! As always we have some VERY helpful pearls of wisdom if you find yourself in this position:
1. Get a plan and implement it early. The best medicine is prevention. Start thinking about staying current in your career when you are pregnant.
2. Stay informed. Make a list of all the magazines, journals, newspapers and websites that provide information, trends and ideas. Subscribe to the ones that are most important to you.
3. Stay active. Get a list of the top conferences in your field and find out the themes, dates and calls for papers and presentations. Just because you are not working doesn’t mean your brain has stopped.
4. Stay in touch with your colleagues and peers. Attend local and professional meetings and lunches.
5. Volunteer. Find one or two local organisations, companies or charities that relate to your field and volunteer quality time.
6. Reassess. Now is a great time to reassess your happiness level—and do something about it. Were you fulfilled in your career? Did it turn out the way you thought it would? Is there something else you’d rather be doing? Some women take totally different career directions, including abandoning careers in law or finance.
9. Consider taking a “lesser” position at your previous place of employment or at a new one. Put your pride aside, and remember that many companies now have to cut back. There is no doubt that your past success and experience will probably give you an edge over many of the other employees, even if they have different skills.
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