Returning Moms- Gear up or Give up!!!

Yes, career breaks are a concern. Why? Because you tend to RUST out, and why should anyone buy rust? Besides, there is fresh talent waiting with degrees in one hand and infectious enthusiasm in the other.

You are 35. You left at 29. That is a long break. But a respectable one. So walk in with your head held high. If you walk around sheepishly thinking you are no more 'the same,' trust, it’s difficult not to disappoint the interviewers. But, on the other hand, if you face them with an aura of confidence and aplomb, they shall be infected too.

Why should they see value in you when you don’t see much worth in you? Do not settle for less, if not more, just because you have returned after a career break. If they see worth in you and the value you can bring, you will be their safe bet. So how do you ensure 'worth' after a career break? One step is to be a smart- at-home- mom. Is it a safe bet? Will you get the job?

NO. There are no safe bets in this world.

However, you are better placed on the negotiating table than those who do not know what value they bring.
There is no escaping the fact that businesses exist to make a profit for their shareholders. Therefore, value creation is the aim of any business entity, and if you are going to add value, they will be compelled to consider your candidature even after a break.

You might have lost out on the experience but not on the knowledge, and that is in your own hands. The basics of your domain won't change drastically even after years. In HR, we still read about Maslow and Rob Briner, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Bath’s School of Management. Show them you know it. Can they undermine the fact that you have worked before, you are not a novice? NO.

Before any of these
First, ask yourself- Do you want to return?

  • Why do you want to return? The reason defines your commitment level to return. Done half-heartedly, the job search will land up nowhere further adding to your woes. You have to be truly convinced that you want to get back to your career and financial independence. It's great to think about getting back, difficult to commit. Are you seeking organizations with more flexibility and work-life balance, or a big paycheck is all that you are looking for?

  • Where do you want to return? Back to your corporate career, or you want to start on your own as a mompreneur or want to take a detour and pursue your childhood passion? Your shifting priorities may necessitate pursuing a less traditional career – or a completely new route.

  • How much time can you commit now that you have kids to look after? Many women don’t want to go back to the high-powered, high-stress job they had before kids. Are you looking for full-time, part-time, work from home, or flex time? Every organization follows different policies; hence it's advisable to narrow your search and move accordingly. Getting hired for a full-time role when looking for a work-from-home option will only make things complicated. Remember, you have additional pressure on you to prove your mettle repeatedly, and getting into the right spot with the right expectation should be your first step.

  • What is the social support system available to you? It’s not a great idea to get a job first and then wonder who should take care of kids when you are away.

  • A little talk with mini-me is essential. There are too many swift changes that happen, and possibly, they may intimidate you or make you feel overwhelmed. Two to five years of a career break is good enough time to witness lots of changes. What are those? From the workplace dynamics to technology advancement to ways of doing business in your domain-specific skills, everything would have shifted gears in a small or big way. When you talk to your batchmates, you realize their career have progressed swiftly than yours. You may now be hanging amongst a team of youngsters who have just been hired or campus placed. One has to be highly talented and lucky to join a level higher with a big salary jump. Many join at levels lower and much less salary than they were earning when they left. In my opinion, a safe bet would be to join at the same level of position and salary. But not everyone gets it right, and people still move on with their appointment letter.
  • Remember, there is no easy money anywhere. You will have to work to earn every penny. Be ready. Be content and try not to compare.

And when you are all set, hit the road. Many organizations are still closed about the idea of returning moms. Few would hire you, make it look like a big obligation, and pay you peanuts. DON’T BOTHER.
If you have been on top of the game while you took a break, you have no reason to feel a victim when you return. Those organizations don’t deserve you, and it’s good riddance you don’t join them. Times have changed. The world is moving towards narrowing gender gaps, having more gender diversity, offering flex time, paternity leaves to family leaves; we do not need to be at the mercy of those companies who do not care and respect.

There are MNC’s who are welcoming returning moms with open arms and open doors.

Go ahead and make a smart resume. Highlighting those activities you engaged in which back up the skill relevant to your career goal. For example, if you did volunteering or freelancing activities, include them. If you did some work-from-home job or helped your spouse in his business, go ahead and talk about the experience. Every bit counts. Just because you weren’t paid doesn’t make the experience any less valuable, so treat such work like you would treat a paid position on your resume. If you are not sure how to build your resume, seek professional help.

Your certifications. Show that you’ve kept your skills refreshed through courses, online learning, and/or independent study. Talk to them about the membership and participation in professional organizations and conferences, if any.

Above all, do not deceive. Be honest and authentic to yourself and your future employer. Explain your recent gap with respect and not remorse. It only highlights your ability to take tough stands and live up to it and not regret it. Don't forget to emphasize that you have kept your skills up to date and are energized and committed to returning to the workforce.

Don’t keep your job search a big secret. Why should you? The more you talk to people around, the better your prospects become. In an era of social media being lapped up as a hiring tool, it's no wonder that jobs are hardly advertised the old way on job sites. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking.

And yes, I wish you all the best. Be patient.


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