How To Get Back to Work After a Career Break – 7 Effective to Dos
Are you thinking of resuming work after a break? Or have you resumed work recently and taking time to get used to deadlines and back-to-back meetings. Well, don’t worry, you are not alone. Most of us face similar issues and have butterflies in our stomachs while resuming work, even if we have worked all our lives. I wish there was a cheat sheet available which we could refer to for useful tips to get back to work after a career break.
I recently resumed work after a 2-year sabbatical and went through this entire cycle of excitement, nervousness, and self-doubt before taking hold of my emotions and doing some self Ted Talk.
Taking a break from work does not mean you have taken a break from learning, handling challenges or meeting deadlines. The only difference is that probably no one is judging you on these parameters while on a break. You are your own master and decide how and where you want to spend your time.
Coming back to preparing yourself to rejoin work (corporate or otherwise), here is what worked for me and got me ready for my second innings.
- How To Get Back to Work After a Career Break – 7 Effective to Dos
- 7 Effective Tips To Get Hired After a Career Break
- 1. Kill That Self Doubt
- 2. Overconfidence Is for Fools
- 3. Keep Yourself Updated
- 4. Revive Your Network
- 5. Be Gentle on Yourself
- 6. Be Open to Feedback
- 7. Implement Learnings From Your First Innings
- To Summarise
- 7 strategies to help you get back into the workforce after a career break
- More Management Blogs
7 Effective Tips To Get Hired After a Career Break
1. Kill That Self Doubt
We, women, have this nagging self-doubt syndrome which comes up always when we need it the least. Self-doubt may stem from many things.
Some of the typical culprits are the guilt of leaving your home/child/family to make a career or taking some time off to manage your other responsibilities. And if we take a break, this nagging feeling again comes forth as we feel worthless as we are no longer in the mainstream.
The most important thing to note is that you learn from all your experiences, from raising small children to managing teen tantrums to managing and running an efficient household unit. All these teach you essential skills of handling emotions, responsibilities with a focus on your goal. Your goal can be any – to manage your household on a certain budget, manage expectations of extended families, and most importantly, raise your children to be good human beings.
If you are already doing all these, why should you doubt your capabilities if your span of work changes?
Remember, Self-Doubt is the biggest enemy of Self-care. Kill it before it raises its head. And then move ahead.
If you really want something for yourself, you will find a way to make it happen.
2. Overconfidence Is for Fools
While it’s important to have confidence in one’s abilities, overconfidence can prove a non-starter.
You may decide to join back after two months, two years or 12 years; the world did not take a break with you. So things could have changed drastically since you left, and the sooner you accept this, the better it will be.
During these years, your peers and subordinates may have moved up the hierarchy and know more than you. So be open to learn and accept feedback and direction from people who are in the mainstream and willing to lend a helping hand.
3. Keep Yourself Updated
If you intend to join back the workstream, it’s always good to keep yourself updated with what’s happening in your industry and the world. As I mentioned earlier, things could have changed drastically since you left, and you need to get up to speed.
Even if you haven’t till now, the moment you decide to start looking out, start your re-education.
Read on to find out how you can do this effectively.
4. Revive Your Network
A great way to keep yourself updated is to get in touch with people you have worked with earlier or in the relevant field. It always works to stay engaged with your network even when you are on a break because they are your eyes and ears on what’s happening in your area of interest.
They will also be able to guide you on the opportunities available both within the organisation and outside and can also help in recommendations. But a word of caution here, keep your expectations in check and do not take things for granted. A lot of equations could have changed during the time you left, so keep that in mind.
5. Be Gentle on Yourself
Re-joining work after a break is similar to joining work on the first day. There is the excitement of starting something new coupled with the apprehension about coping with the new environment, culture and, most important work.
Start by being gentle with yourself and give yourself time. You may have been on top of your game when you left, but don’t weigh yourself down with those expectations when you re-join.
Follow these 3 As to assimilate into the new work environment slowly
Align – to the company culture and ways
Adopt – best practices from your peers and seniors
Adapt – to the new ways of doing things
During this process, you may often feel frustrated and stressed and tend to go back to how you things were during your earlier innings. Use these thoughts to motivate you to move ahead and find a solution rather than get into a negative spiral.
6. Be Open to Feedback
We all would come with a lot of baggage, especially if we left our previous assignment at a senior position. We feel we know it all and are not open to suggestions and feedback from people. They can be our peers within the new organization or even our subordinates.
We must realise that these people have been there before us and know a lot more than we do about the organization, policies and the way of getting things done.
You may want to drive change, but that cannot happen overnight and not unless you understand the realities of the organization. And for that, you must listen more and react less.
For some quick tips on how to accept feedback, click here.
7. Implement Learnings From Your First Innings
When we are working, we get stuck in what I call the work-and-spend cycle. This is a phenomenon in which people remain trapped in a pattern of long hours of work and increasing consumption spending that gives us a false feeling of well-being while actually, it’s eroding our mental peace.
It’s very easy to get sucked in this whirlpool of meetings, deadlines, and egos where your promotions and pay packet seem to define your “Happy state”.
As you rise through the work hierarchy, you realise that you may have ignored so many other things in life which are essential to balance your financial needs with emotional and spiritual needs.
As I resumed my 2nd innings, I am trying my best to work upon the biggest regrets of my work life earlier. Click here to find out what these regrets are.
For me, the two-year break is all about course correction and filling out the so-called “blank spaces” in my life with all the things that I could not do during my first innings at work. And I am hoping that there are no blank spaces this time.
In the end, I would again like to reiterate two important things:
Taking a break from work does not mean you have taken a break from learning, handling challenges or meeting deadlines. Depending upon how you utilized your break, you would have added a new dimension to your personality and skill set. Read how a timely break helped me relook at my life from a different perspective and has prepared me to handle my work life better.
Secondly, you need to define your priorities as you re-start work. Hopefully, this break would have re-aligned your mindset and given you a direction of what is important for you. Focus on these priorities and ignore the noise to achieve a healthy equilibrium between your personal and professional goals.
So while you get into the rigamarole of deadlines and targets, keep the bigger goal in mind, and it will put things in perspective.
All the very best !!
If you found this blog useful please do share with someone who is looking to resume work after a career break.
A big thanks to my sister Dr Minni Chadha for the artwork on the blog header.
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7 strategies to help you get back into the workforce after a career break
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