Moms Re-entering the Workforce
Many women take a hiatus from careers to raise their young children in accordance with their work/life values. But, not all women have the luxury of leaving work to be with their kids. The Harvard Business Review published data reporting that 93% of women who do take a temporary leave (beyond the traditional maternity leave), are ready to re-enter the world-of-work within two years.
While I can’t speak from personal experience – my “children” are of the furry, hound dog variety, I have worked with many mom clients who find it stressful to get back into the game after their mommy time away.
It’s extremely rare that the organization you left will welcome you with open arms after a two year absence, so most women seek out new opportunities. The research shows they often take a pay cut for the mommy gap on their resume. There are some amazing resources out there for come-back moms these days so the re-entry does not have to be so brutal.
- Plan ahead with a Strategy. The more planning you can do from child care providers to how you will plan for dinner when you are back at work will help ease stress levels. Monica McGrath, adjunct professor at the Wharton School of Business teaches a Career Comeback course and shares that having a plan will translate to renewed confidence.
- Get Back Up to Speed. More than likely your current reading repertoire has focused on Parents Magazine and children’s books. Timothy Butler, PhD and head of Harvard Business School’s New Path program encourages you to start reading the Wall Street Journal or the relevant publications in your industry to get back up to speed before you hit the job market. Take a continuing education class to refine your skills and learn what’s been happening in the world-of-work since you left.
- Find Support. Constance Helfat, PhD and co-director of Dartmouth’s Back in Business 11-day Executive Course, says you need to re-connect with your professional support team to get back in the know and rebuild your confidence as a marketable candidate. Start a women’s discussion group or join an existing professional women’s networking organization to get out there and be seen again as the professional you are.
- Stay Involved. Some moms may have the flexibility to do contract or volunteer work while they are tending to the little ones. If that is not the case for you, consider taking on some part-time projects when you are ready to get back on the job train. Working for charities or non-profits in your community on a special project basis can be a great way to show prospective employers that you’ve still got it and lessen the severity of your resume gap in the workforce.
- Rally Your Network. Revive your personal resource team and tell everyone you know that you are ready to get back to work. Increase your networking list with referrals and offer to pay-it-forward to others so you are not a self serving networker. You may be the re-engaged mom that helps somebody else in the near future.
There are a myriad of resources and support mechanisms for moms today so tap into what’s available in your community including career and/or life coaches to get you jump started. After all, being a mom is the most noble and difficult profession of all!