The one and only thing you need to do to restart your career is as yourself – “am I ready for it?”. What I would say, at the risk of sounding preachy, is – get moving. Don’t wait for the answer to that question. Simply, get moving.
First I want to introduce a term I just made up “Wannabe Working Woman” (www). I’ve been that woman and it’s important to know whether you are one. I didn’t, for a long time realize this.
Here are some common characteristics:
- You want to get back to work
- You haven’t yet decided exactly what you want to do
- You know you want to do something, but you don’t know when
- Sometimes you even ‘kinda’ know what you want to do, like start a business or get back to your old career or go on a different career path
- You already have your days full of things to do, like house-keeping, mommying, and hence don’t have the time to focus on getting back to the career the want to get back to
- You don’t know where to start
- Sometimes with a lot of focus, you make a little bit of progress but it stops because of unforeseen circumstances, like the kid getting sick, the husband going on a business trip, relatives’ visits, a wedding in the family…the list goes on.
You need to ask yourself if you are one. And, if you ask me, most women go through this stage, before moving on to the next (when they actually take steps to get back to work). I can tell you, from personal experience, that I was one of them. And still, I haven’t reached the place where I really want to be. But it starts with “Taking a chance on yourself”. Sounds like a cliche? Well, maybe, but that’s exactly what you need to do.
In this post, I would like to share with you small but doable steps to get you to become a WWW to a “Working Woman(WW)“.
Step 1: Set a hard timeline
Heard of the Parkinson’s law? It says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Isn’t it true? If we never set a time by which to get back to work, in all probability it is going to take a really long time. It is easy to go with the flow when you are a mom and a homemaker, you don’t need to make a priority task list or set goals. In fact, it is more beneficial to be flexible and go with the flow.
So set a date by which you want to get back to work and write it down somewhere where you can look at it.
Step 2: Announce your decision to people around you
Shout it out from the rooftops. Tell everyone you know, including your husband, relatives, friends, old colleagues and network. Why would this help? For starters, it will make your decision to restart more real. Also, telling someone will hold you accountable. Reconnecting with your old co-workers and other professionals in the field will open you up to new opportunities they might be able to send your way.
Step 3: Carve out time for yourself every day and stick to it
As a stay-at-home mom you probably already have a lot on your plate. You have commitments and housework and kids to nurture. If you are serious about getting back to work you need to start scheduling a “working on my career” time every day. This part is more difficult than when you actually start working. Everyone around you is used to you being accessible all the time. It is important to not let any calls, visits or other distractions take you away from your “work” time (which will eventually get you a job).
Step 4: Invest in yourself
Re-skilling is seen as one of the most important things which you need to focus on which you are making you way back to work. Work on a certification, touch base with your old skills, revamp your resume, update your Linkedin profile. If necessary, spend not only time but even some money to re-skill yourself.
Reboot is a great place to start – it helps women get back to work while mentoring them on re-skilling.
Step 5: Go for it even if you are not 100% sure (you’ll never be 100%sure!)
In Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In I read that, “Internal research at HP showed that women apply for open jobs only if they think they meet 100 percent of the criteria listed, whereas men respond to the posting if they feel they meet 60 percent of the requirements.” It struck a chord with me because I do not apply or try anything unless I think I have the complete skill set to match the job.
So my latest mantra is “Go for it”! Sometimes it is better to try and fail that not attempt at all.
by Namratha Varadharajan
Namratha is a digital marketer in the making. Other than her love for the written word and her kids, she enjoys Italian food, dancing and gardening. Explore more of her writings at www.namysaysso.com