This article has been written by Dr. Sushma Sharma who is a medical practitioner.
Dr. Sushma Sharma is a Gold medallist in her profession but has taken voluntarily break from her career to look after her 2-years-old son. She has written this article on career-break based on her experience on motherhood.
Sometimes career breaks are inevitable. Many reasons may account for this : maternity, family liabilities, marriage, relocation, health issues or higher education. Not to mention here, the percentage of women taking career breaks is enormously larger than the male counterparts. Getting back into job is not an easy thing. To even think upon, requires more than confidence and enthusiasm. Once you’ve invested a substantial time period in a career, it is always like a roller coaster ride in figuring out how to take time out and then return to a role that is comparable to the one you left. One needs to be mentally and physically strong as well.
I remember how once after a break when my son was born, I made up my mind to start it all over again. I went for an interview. The head of the department asked ,”so what were you doing till now.” I replied with hesitation, “Sir I was a homemaker these days and have taken a break for my baby”. As expected, he gave a sardonic smile, pointed out to the female staff sitting next to him and asked her “You are married for 15 years , have you been able to make something at home?“.
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Its natural that your career breaks do give a reason for apprehension to recruiters, providing them with golden opportunities for salary negotiations or paying less. Prime concern is either you have to settle down at lower scales or by the time you step into the market, it is flooded up with already young , energetic people who are fetching lower salaries.
Here are few tips to start all over again and to make your journey easy enough after career break
- Think once, twice, thrice before job hunt
Career break is not career suicide. Give yourself sufficient time to evaluate or re-evaluate your decision to return to the workforce. Do not push off half heartedly just because you are tired of answering that “Atom Bomb” question by people – “So when are you starting again.“, Otherwise you may get frustrated after short course of time.
- Redraft your Resume
Spend time on redrafting your resume as per the career break. I know gap does not look nice in resume, but be truthful to the employer. Clearly mention the duration, reason for break, additional activities you were indulged in, new career oriented skills you learned in this period
- Draft your priorities, keep a right attitude, work on your mental and physical strength
Draw a draft of your priorities and search a job. Maintain positive attitude. Practice yoga , exercise or meditate.
- Choose a company that hire freshers and inexperienced
Company would have lower expectations from you. There is no harm in stepping one foot backward to excel but be progressive.
- Streamline your daily routine
If maternity was the reason for break, start hunting for good daycare, full-time maid or nanny for the kid at least one month before you are thinking to start, give ample amount of time to your kid for adjustment. Talk to your in-laws and parents regarding your decision and request them to lend you helping hand.
- Prepare yourself
Initiating with the things you already know is enough to boost your confidence but be keen to learn new things with equal enthusiasm. Get in touch with people from previous workplace. Brush up your previous knowledge and stay updated with recent developments.
- Give a soft start
Its good to be confident, however it would be a blunder to jump into things with unprecedented confidence. Do not try to shoot moon in one go. Take tiny steps. One needs to be spirited and perseverant, sometimes you need to build from scratch. If you have an option for working few hours a day rather than full time ,then go for first option, irrespective of salary. You create a kind of “comfort zone” around you, it does take time, efforts and patience to drag yourself out of it. Flexibility of time and work can warrant this problem.
- Have faith in you. People will literally make you feel worthless
”Gap” in your resume is sufficient to raise brows.Everyone does not have a luxury to pursue a career without break. People may question your credibility. Much would have been changed since you left. You would have to work under people junior to you, your contemporary could be your boss now. Therefore, be confident and make yourself mentally strong to face people. How does this matter you were not able to add to the husband’s income. But you were productive to your family, your kid,your husband. Personally, I feel that once you gain a skill, you own it forever. Its simply like its been ages since you stepped inside your kitchen, still you would be able to make round chapattis.
- Do not overburden yourself
Look for something in vicinity to your home just to reduce transit time to better concentrate on your work. (Personnel experience!) Hire domestic help for daily chores or do not hesitate to distribute work with your spouse.
- Create your own support group
Getting back to work may be frustrating sometimes,your aspirations or expectations may give you setback, you may have meltdown too. But your family is the most reliable support system.Discuss your routine or work related problem with your family.
- Last but not the least consider Career shift
It is not necessary to return to the old role. I know it sounds tough but if your field mandates hardcore determination or 24×7 engagement then assess your current interests, feel free to settle down in less demanding job with flexible hours or work from home facility.
JUST BE CONFIDENT AND REMEMBER IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO (RE)START ANYTHING