Key Steps for Successful Transition from Career Break Back to Work

For one reason or the other, you may be joining work after a career break. Many reasons such as parenting may force some women to take some time off work which may span several years.  Today we are seeing more and more moms going back to work even after as long as 10 years.

However transitioning from a stay-at-home mom or career break to working again is not simple. There are various changes and adjustments that you will need to do before and after you start working to ensure you give your career and family equal chance to thrive .

To prepare transitioning from staying at home or a career break to working, you need to skill first, then find a prospective company, do a personal makeover, and create a new schedule. To manage this transition, you need to manage your expectations, have a support system,

Key Steps for Successful Transition from Career Break Back to Work

Step 1: Re-skill

Re-skilling yourself is hence the first step in this transition. If coming from a career break you will need to equip yourself with current skills in the market to be able to work effectively and efficiently.This is important because the industry changes so fast, introducing new concepts and methods.

Re-skilling entails refreshing and improving your skills. You can take refresher courses to upgrade your educational qualifications on the skills you will require in your new job. Some jobs types such as nursing, and accounting will in addition require some form of annual certification or licensing.

Read: A Guide to Your Career Plan

Reskill to Transition to work from Career Break

Step 2: Find a Prospective Company

When your papers are in order and updated, you are ready for finding prospective employers. Keep looking for positions that you can go to after a career break. Do your research on the most appropriate openings for you and go ahead and apply.

You can learn about new openings through adverts, friends and families, company’s websites, and through employment agencies. You can also leverage on any connections and networks you have built over the years for job referrals and recommendations.

It might be wise to target more entry-level jobs rather than middle or high-level jobs seeing that you have not been in the field for a while. There are also some career paths that accommodate reentry jobs for stay at home moms than others such as teaching and nursing .

Once hired you can work your way up by proving your efficiency and productivity in your work.  Do not despair if you get no feedback but stay focused. Things such as the gap in your CV has a career gap may slow the process down a bit.

Read: Mom Friendly Careers and Jobs

Step 3: Plan a Personal Makeover

Going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom will require you to change your overall outlook. For a long time, staying at home has dictated your dressing, and hairstyle among others. With a new job on the way, you will need to do a personal makeover leaning more towards the professional look.

While you could wear anything at home, you will now need to look more made up and presentable for the workplace. The change involves you changing your wardrobe items such as dresses, pants, coats, shoes and even handbags.

In addition to your wardrobe, you may need to add new pieces of footwear as well. Handbags are also a classic need for any working mom. Further, you will need to add few pieces of accessories such as necklaces, and watches, among others.

Ensure that your full look is more professional than casual especially if you are working in a corporate office. Your choices may be slightly influenced by your job type or company policies dictating the dressing code. You may want to refer to this as you shop or add new pieces to your wardrobe. Some companies may even have uniform dress code for its employees.

Start shopping early for appropriate pieces and slowly fill up your wardrobe. Choose pieces that inspire happiness in you to motivate and enhance your esteem as you dress up each morning.

Step 4: Create a New Schedule 

As you start working after a long time off work especially in a full time job it is easy to find it overwhelming. This is especially so because of the tight schedule and long stretch of working hours that you are not used to. The change will also likely affect your personal and family life from what it used to be.

To manage the transition smoothly, you will need to create a new schedule and adjust to it bit by bit until you are comfortable in your workspace. Your new schedule will include the new time for doing things such as waking up, taking meals, dropping off and picking up your kids, getting house chores done such as grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, and attending to personal matters among others.

If you have toddlers, a child care plan is important to avoid this affecting your office reporting hours and concentration at work. Create and set the new times and spaces for everything that now aligns with your work. While practicing your new schedule, discipline in time management will determine how easily you can adjust.

Read: Time Management Tips for Working Moms

Step 5: Manage Your Expectations

Some moms are excited and others scared to go back to work after staying at home for a while. It is important that you manage both your personal and job-related expectations. Coming from a work break, it is easy to get to deeply discouraged and disappointed. Therefore consider the many challenges and limitations as you set your targets and goals.

You can sail through by effectively managing your expectations through SMART goal setting. As you set your personal and professional, goals and expectations, they need to be SMART.This means they are specific,measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Be realistic, and specific in what you want to achieve, how you will measure the progress, which are to be achieved within what time frame.

Having this in place will help you wither the turbulence of unexpected challenges and limitations. Consider that some things outside your control such as your company policies, organization culture among others may affect your performance.

Be ready for changes to your family and personal goals changes too.Work instabilities can affect your parenting, marriage, social life, and personal health too. You may not enjoy as much time and do much together with your family and friends as you used to before.

To navigate this , put a plan in place effectively balance family and work. In addition, create and actualize a self-care plan to ensure your needs are attended to and avoid fatigue and burnout.

Read: How to Achieve Work-life Balance

Step 6: Surround yourself with a Support System

A support system is very important during back to work transition because the move can take the toll on you in varying degrees. Too much work, less rest, few social interactions, and un-managed expectations may overwhelm and eventually drain you. 

Without a proper and supportive outlet channel, these issues can eventually lead to mental and psychological problems for you. As such having a support system is very critical for your sanity. The sharing allows you to get opinions and honest reviews of your concerns so you can make the right decisions both in professional and personal matters.

To achieve this, build around yourself a support system of people you can share your goal and aspirations, expectation, frustrations, achievements, and anything else with. It can include your partner, your family members, colleagues, and friends. In addition, you can engage the services of a therapist when need be for more professional help before things get out of hand.

 Read: How to Overcome Working Mom Guilt

Create a support system to ease back to work after a career break

Tips on Managing Getting Back to Work Transition

  • Find a great mom-friendly career from the start. You need a job that allows you carry out you mom duties.
  • Avoid working in a job that is not fulfilling. If you hate your job , it will affect your life negatively. Start with a job you love and have passion for to positively complement your personal and family life.
  • Transition moderately. The transitioning from stay at home mom to work is a complex move, especially to full-time work. As an alternative, opt to make moderate moves. For instance, start with remote work or working part-time, then after you have adjusted, move to full-time.
  • Find your work-life balance and separate work from home. The two entities should remain separate from each other. Avoid as much as possible having your family life affect your job and vice versa. If you do this, you will find your transition into work from a career break to be manageable.
  • Be easy on yourself. Remember that you are only starting and everyone can make mistakes. Do not be hard on yourself for slow progress or mistakes.
  • Complement yourself by celebrating achievements no matter how small. This will keep you motivated and your self-esteem high.  
  • Have house chores/ childcare arrangements. Handling houses and taking care of your child after work will drain you. It is wise to arrange for child care services as well as someone to help with chores around the house. Only use the time after work for your family time, resting and refreshing for the next day.

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