If you have taken time away from work to have and raise your children, you’re not alone; many women – and an increasing number of men too – do so, and it can be a great thing for both them and their children if it is what they want, and their savings and other resources allow for it.
At some point, however, perhaps when the children start school or when childcare becomes easier and more affordable when you might decide it’s time to go back to work. Re-entering the workforce can come with its own set of issues, however. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you worked and what kind of job or career you want to go back to; it can still be tough for a variety of reasons, including feeling out of sync with how the sector has evolved and not having a lot of experience.
Yet returning to work can be exactly the right thing to do, no matter how hard it might seem. It will give you more money, freedom, and confidence and help you achieve what you want in life. With that in mind, here are some helpful hints to ensure your return to work is as smooth as possible.
Think Of Your Experience
Raising children is a difficult job that requires the use of many talents that you may not be aware of. For example, you must be organized, timely, polite, clean, cautious, compassionate, strict, and many more things besides. Not only that, but on a basic level, you will know how to care for children, keep a clean home, prepare healthy meals, and so on. In other words, the things you do daily may serve you well when it comes to returning to work. This could be your experience, even if it wasn’t carried out in an office or factory floor.
Don’t think you don’t have any abilities or experience because you haven’t been going to work and have instead chosen to remain at home with your children. The skills you’ve acquired may have become so entrenched in you and a part of your routine that you don’t recognize them for what they are. Take just a small step back and take a proper look at what you do daily. Which of these might be useful to you in your job? What can you add to your resume to highlight your skills?
Think About What You Want
If you had a job before having children, you might intuitively believe that this is what you should return to. However, although it may be the best (perhaps only) option for some, especially if you liked your job and were particularly good at it or found it fulfilling, it may not be the best answer for everyone. In fact, by going back to a job you didn’t really like or that made you stressed just because you think it’s the only thing you can do, you might be about to make a huge mistake.
Therefore, take this time away from work to consider what you really want out of life and choose a job that will allow you to achieve your objectives. If you just want to work during school hours, or if you want to work from home, or if you want flexible employment, that’s what you need to look for. Go down that route if you’re searching for a whole new profession and view this as a chance to finally find your ideal job. Then, you have time to think about it thoroughly.
Of course, depending on the career path you choose, you may need to acquire extra credentials and training before applying. However, don’t let this put you off because the same is true if you wish to return to a previous profession; you’ll need to refresh your knowledge after being away. In other words, no matter what you do, learning and potentially qualifications will be needed.
There are lots of courses to choose from, so ensure you look at each option carefully. An online Carson-Newman MSN for nurses who want to go back to work and need to improve their knowledge could be ideal, for example.
Again, this will depend on the professional path you have decided to return to or begin, but you may want to consider beginning slowly, perhaps in a part-time capacity and working your way up to full-time employment. It will often be difficult to go from being a full-time parent to having a full-time job, and the contrast might be overwhelming, causing you to think you’ve made the wrong choice and giving up on the idea of a career altogether. On the other hand, if you can start by working two or three days a week, you can gradually increase your hours as your confidence grows, and logistics become easier to handle.
This will also help both you and your family adjust to your absence from the home. Remember that working only affects you (though you should be the one you consider most, which, as a parent, can be tough but also necessary), and it may take some time to settle into a productive new pattern.
Just because you start slowly doesn’t mean you have to keep going that way; when you’re ready, you can increase your hours and return to full-time employment if that’s what you want. Of course, you can also work part-time if that works better for you.
If you enjoy the idea of working but are unsure about applying for the different available jobs, volunteering can be a useful steppingstone. You’ll be helping others while also gaining confidence since you’ll be able to see what you’re capable of – you’ll probably discover a lot of talents you didn’t know you had.
Volunteering will look excellent on your resume as well. There will be a noticeable gap in your employment history on your resume if you have taken time off to have children. Although you can explain this – after all, the reason you’re returning to work is that you took time off in the first place – it’s also helpful to have something there to fill the gap just a bit. It demonstrates, for example, your willingness to work and improve yourself and show certain skills you’ve learned during that time.
There will be many volunteer options in your immediate area, so you won’t have to go far to discover something that piques your interest. You could do the following:
- Pick up litter
- Volunteer at a youth group
- Participate in an after-school program
- Assist the homeless by passing out shelter information, distributing warm jackets, or volunteering at a soup kitchen
- Read to a person who is blind or old
- Make hospital visits for patients who don’t have relatives
- Volunteer at a Goodwill store
Make Use Of Your Contacts
If you don’t know where to start searching for employment because you don’t know what you want, aren’t sure you can get what you want, or just don’t know how to go about it since it’s been so long (and technology may have advanced a lot), then what about your contacts?
You will have met many different people over the years, and every one of them will have some sort of contact who works somewhere; it’s unavoidable. So, this is a good place to start. First, check with your friends and relatives to see if any employment opportunities are available through them or their friends and acquaintances. This can work really well if you’re not too concerned about what you do for a living but are more interested in finding any kind of work. You’ll be presented with a variety of opportunities, and it should be easy to find a position that matches what you’re looking for.
When you make use of your contacts, you might be told about a job that no one else is aware of or that you had never considered previously. Your friend or family member might be able to put in a good word for you and get you an interview. It can’t hurt to ask, and it might be the best thing you can do.
You might find a job that suits you perfectly, but it doesn’t mention flexible working on the job ad. If that is the case, apply anyway – it might be that flexible working is part of the norm, so it wasn’t considered an important thing to mention. Alternatively, it might be something you can negotiate later on. After all, if you get to the interview stage, the employer must be impressed with you and what you can do; if they really want you to work for them, they might be willing to change the hours or offer remote working to ensure you get the job.
If they really want to employ you and recognize your potential, they will be more flexible in terms of the job they can provide. However, they don’t want you to go to another business that can provide you with what you’re looking for.