Restarting one’s career after a prolonged break from work can be daunting for several women. There are several hurdles on their way—worry, trepidation, stigma, gender disparity, maternity wage penalty, societal and cultural expectations and more.
Rejoining a job might be challenging, but preparedness and planning can certainly make the journey smooth and to get you ready for the big leap.
When Kavya went back to work after an extended maternity break, she felt left out. The emotional turmoil of leaving her baby behind along with the lack of preparation on the professional front made it difficult for her to adjust in office. She could have minimized the unpleasant experience by keeping certain things in mind before joining work. If you too are a woman professional looking to re-enter the workforce, it is important to plan. Below are a few tips to make your transition easier.
While you were away from work, businesses would have changed drastically. To get back in the workforce, keep yourself updated with relevant skills, tools and technologies necessary for the job profile that you would apply to.
Stay connected with your colleagues
Stay in touch with your co-workers, managers and mentors. Mentoring conversations can make it easier for you to identify the critical skills to learn before getting back to work. Conversation with colleagues will keep you informed of any major changes in the workplace.
Network with women who have been in the same boat
Strong networks to get referrals can make your re-entry easier. There are several virtual networks particularly for women returning to work. By connecting with fellow women, you can learn through their experiences. In case you do not have a mentor yet, you may find one through networking.
Take care of your health
This is an overlooked aspect. However, re-entering the workforce is taxing and you need to be physically, mentally and emotionally strong to overcome all the barriers and start a new chapter.
You aren’t a superwoman and don’t try to be one! Divide chores upfront between your spouse and other family members. Hire professional help for work that can be outsourced. Even if you are all ready to rejoin your job, there will still be problems if your family isn’t prepared. Talking to them beforehand will save troubles later.
Prepare your child in advance
If you were on a break for child-rearing, ensure that your kid is adjusted as well as possible to this change. Whether you are opting for a nanny, daycare or a guardian, the child should be acquainted with the person and environment well in advance. Don’t be overanxious about your little one. Children are more resilient, and they acclimatize better than adults.
A company may be welcoming to women returnees, but not all employees’ attitudes have changed. More than policy changes, there is a need for attitude change to welcome women back at work. If you have a fellow woman rejoining work, stop assuming, and treat them fairly.
Chasing your dreams and taking care of family simultaneously isn’t easy, but with forethought, you can successfully aim for better in both worlds. If you are an employer, you can radically prevent talent from being wasted by being more sensitive and supportive toward returnees.