Sunday, February 25, 2018

Feeling Fearful? Parents Going Back to Work Needn’t Worry

I’ve been having babies - and then bringing up our young children - for the last 6 years. It’s been an extremely enjoyable (and challenging!) time. I should post another time about my parenting experiences; it will make for an amusing read!

During this delicious period of changing nappies; breastfeeding tired and hungry babies at 3am; potty training; nurturing; teaching; growing in pride; and having numerous stressful meltdowns (that’s me, not just the kids) I’ve tried very hard to juggle both working with parenting and, in more recent years, have taken a career break to focus solely on the children. 

But the time is coming where I want to go back to work and over the last 12 months or so I’ve started tuning in to the conversations at the school gate. 

Many parents, just like me, are looking into the career options available to them. And most are sharing their fears about re-entering the workplace. 

They talk about having a lapse in self confidence; a fear of being able to function again in a corporate environment; and reveal the doubts they have about their skills and abilities. 

Parents with young children might be surprised to learn that they aren’t the only people who take time out of work to pursue other priorities.

Although the largest group of ‘career breakers’ are those who want to care for young children, many other adults take time out from their careers to travel; look after elderly or unwell relatives; take on an internship, to try out a new potential career; or take sabbaticals. 

So if you’re a stay at home parent, looking to go back into work at some point, you will be thrilled to know you aren’t alone and your concerns are also not uncommon. 

Here are some simple tips to get you thinking positively as you make the next step into ‘career world’:

The Role
  1. Consider the next role you’d like to move into. Is it the same role you previously had or do you want to try something different? Do you need greater flexibility than you had before? What sort of role would really energise you? What salary would be needed? 

  1. Consider the skills required for this new role. You might go online and review current job ads. You might talk to people in the industry. See what skills and qualifications are being asked for. Do you have them? If not, could you acquire them? Are there courses or qualifications you could complete now to help you hit the ground running once you are ready to interview?

Your Strengths 
  1. Brainstorm your own offering. What value can you add? Brainstorm what you really enjoying doing (tasks; how you like spending your time at work; what energises you most). Brainstorm your skills. Your qualifications. The courses you’ve completed. Think about what you do really well. Write all these things down and review what you uncover. 

Just because you’ve been at home for some time doesn’t mean you’re suddenly unemployable! Many parents go back to work after a career break and lead very fulfilling professional lives thereafter. 

Don’t listen to the wimpish voice in your head! Take action and start outlining everything you DO have to offer. It’s a great first step to getting yourself back into the swing of working.