Re-entering the Workforce
One of the toughest things I ever did as a stay at home mom was to dip my toes into the water of full-time employment. What did I have to offer? What did I want to do for a job? Was working outside of the home really going to benefit my family? Was my family life going to suffer with me away from home forty hours a week?
But truly, the hardest part was just stepping out. Writing a brand new resume with many skills that I had to teach myself was tough. We women often have a hard time selling ourselves.
I just celebrated my one-year work anniversary. I no longer have to refer to my predecessor when I introduce myself to business contacts. I feel so much more secure in what I am doing. I have a voice. I have a place at the table. And best of all, I’m helping my family.
As someone who has just re-entered the workforce after 16 years as a stay at home mom, I feel like I have a lot of learning up to do. I have devoted the first hour of my workday each day to education. Some days I read a professional book, or I read industry blogs or listen to podcasts. As a one-person fundraising department, I am in charge of my own education.
There is not need to downplay my success. . .I have earned it!
I’ve come to realize that there is no such thing as work-life balance. The two things can never be in balance. Some days my home life gets all of my attention, sometimes work does, and sometimes things do seem to be in balance. Work-life integration is a much better term. How can I best make the most of my work day so that I can spend more time with my family after work? When should I stop checking my email? Should I take on one more project? Is there a way to integrate my family in my project? (Example, my two younger sons will be participating in a fundraising 5K on the other side of the state with me next month. . .work trip integrated with mother/son time–win!)
I’ve learned that I’ve had to let some things go. I’m just not able to make it to PTO meetings at three different schools. So, I volunteer when those that DO attend the meetings ask me to. I can’t attend parent/teacher meetings for all of the kids, so my husband and I split them up and we compare notes. We try to make sure at least one of us is at any school or extracurricular event.
As a blogger for 7+ years I have always been rather aware of my personal brand as a writer. I also see how that brand can and does change with time. Developing a persona brand can help with interviews.
A few personal branding takeaways– People with Strong personal brands:
- Know where they excel and what sets them apart
- Have a clear vision of what they want and go after it
- Have the determination to make changes
- Know when to say “Yes” and when to say “No, thank you”
- Know what’s important to them and what’s not
- Are consistent
- Are known for something
- Embrace their differences
I think if you are thinking about re-entering the workforce, considering your brand is a must. The modern workplace demands it, and skipping this step could mean selling yourself short.
If you are re-entering the workforce, look at it as a challenge, and then accept that challenge! It likely will not be a short, or easy journey. I dealt wit a lot of disappointment and self-doubt. I even received some harsh criticism from friends that thought I was selfish or irresponsible to go to work. The mommy wars are alive and well!
Chime in! What helped you when you were re-entering the workforce?