Today’s the day that most of the population are suffering from the ‘January Blues’ – returning to work from the Christmas holidays, but for those mums out there thinking of returning to work after after having children, the world can seem a very scary place! We asked professional career coach Charlotte Billington to give us some tips on getting back into the world of work. Good luck!
‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’ –
C S Lewis
Whether you are going back to the same job, a similar job or you are planning on doing something completely different; take advantage of this time and try and see it as an opportunity to do something that you will enjoy.
Returning to work after a two week holiday is sometimes hard so it is no wonder that going back after a year or even five or ten years can be extremely nerve racking and daunting.
My main advice at this time is to stop, reflect, remember what you have achieved in the past and spend time on analysing yourself in order to be focussed and clear on what you would like to do next.
The following tips are from myself (a Mum of two small boys who had a career change after children), from work I have done as a Career Coach on Mums and from my recently written book What to do Next? An uncomplicated, easy to use exercise book aimed at Mums and Career Changers to work out what they will find enjoyable, satisfying and rewarding next.
- Take this opportunity – Take time to properly analyse your talents, skills, motivators and strengths. We are often blind to some of our strengths, thinking that everyone does what we do well. To overcome this I suggest, in addition to you thinking through them, asking six people who know you well to identify what yours are. Once you have done this think through those that you really enjoy using.
- Review your career to date – Before moving forward, analyse what you have done to date. It is the best place to start looking for clues. Think through and pinpoint your career highs and lows, and identify what you were doing at those times. Also try to identify specifically what you have enjoyed doing or derived real satisfaction from doing.
- What do you want – Think about what YOU want, not what others might want or expect you to do. Forget teachers, parents, partners, bosses, dependents, friends or any other external expectation or sense of “should”. Be true to yourself. What are your goals? – Short, medium and long term
- What are you passionate about? Think through what are you interested in and fascinated by?
- What sets you ‘on fire’/motivates/charges you – Try to work out what energises you. Is it design? Thinking strategically? Helping people? After a busy day, when are you fully charged and alive – work out why – what have you been doing? Investigate what excites you.
- What is realistic – Look at what is compatible with your lifestyle? What constraints do you have? What do you want or need to be able to do on a day-to-day, week to week, month to month basis?
- Aim high and give yourself the opportunity – Don’t underestimate yourself. Many times I hear Mums say “Ah but that is too hard to get into”, or “I don’t think they would consider me”. Others have done it before you – others will do it in the future. Why not you?
- Educate yourself – Before you go back to work, consider if this might be a good time to do additional training or courses.
- Research, network, research, network – Spend time looking into what interests you, talk to people in that area, attend conferences, join groups, volunteer. Research the backgrounds of others who have done well in your desired field. Most often people who have done well in their area and enjoy it are very happy to talk to those who are equally as passionate and considering entering their area. See if you can offer something back to them or do some volunteering with them. Learn from others how they did it. What support do you have, and what do you need?
- Everyone needs to start somewhere – Start slowly in the right direction and doors will open for you. As Steve Jobs once famously said quite often “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
- Invest time in this – Allow yourself time to think things through, to evaluate yourself, your preferences, what you enjoy and what is important. Once you have discovered that path for you it will take commitment and hard work to establish yourself, but if on the correct path it will not feel like that much hard work.
- When you are ready – Update your Linked In Profile, CV and be prepared for interviews. Use your network and recruiters. Perhaps start on a temporary, voluntary or self employed basis to begin with.
By Charlotte Billington
What To Do Next is Now Available from Amazon and is priced from £16.80