Sunday, November 20, 2016

Parenting >> Back To Work After Baby

When work rears its ugly head...

There's no doubt about it, having children does change you in some ways. It's not always that our drive or ambition fades, but more that other things have to sometimes take priority and more often than not, our careers can take a back seat for a while. I'm hoping to work from home for a now, but many friends who also didn't go straight back to work have now started delving back into the world of full time as their children have grown. For some it really is a daunting prospect and I know it would be for me too. I dreaded going back to work from the second my first baby (Alf) was born.

Taking the big step back into work is huge for any of us. Some people are happy to leap back after just a few months and some of us, not so much. For those that have had a good while off, heading back into the world of work (real work with actual adults) is incredibly nerve wracking and it's hard to know exactly where to start after years of nappies, playgroups and wiping up god knows what.

As much as it feels nice to escape, popping on a smart suit again for interviews, getting our CV up to date and applying for those 'oh so scary' positions, it can be a big deal and it definitely takes some guts.

I thought I would pop a few simple tips together to help any parents out there taking the plunge back into work after a break. It may not be as intimidating as it first seems and once you get going you'll no doubt completely rock the world of work once again.

Where to start?

1. Decide realistically what you want to do and what hours you feel you can handle initially, whether you are returning to a previous job or starting a new one. A lot can change after those pre-maternity leave work meetings, you may not even want to go back to the same role or industry.

2. Update your CV as well as your LinkedIn profile and any online job sites.

3. Update your wardrobe with a few new smart pieces that will give you a little extra confidence, as well as making you feel you can separate work from home a little easier. A nice suit, smart trousers with a top or even a nice dress could work wonders for your self esteem. It's OK to reflect your personality a little in your work wear so experiment with colour and wear something you feel comfortable in.

4. Write down all the positives about yourself. Sometimes it's hard to see the good in yourself and it's far easier to be self critical, particularly after having a baby where often our confidence has taken a nose dive. In an application or interview process though, you absolutely have to sell yourself and if you can be prepared with some positives from the off, you will really shine through. Think what you're good at, what your skills are and maybe even what you've learnt from becoming a parent that you could apply to your new work.

5. Apply for anything suitable. Don't think you don't stand a chance at something or that maybe they won't want you. You have just as much chance as anyone else and if you can walk in there with new found confidence, you are half way there.

6. Be realistic with your applications, don't apply for crazy hours that will affect your home life drastically, cost you a fortune in nursery fees or wear you out. Apply for roles that you can get to in time, get home from in time and that fit into your day without too much upheaval - at least initially.

7. Relax and stay calm, the world won't have changed too dramatically in the time you've been away from work. Things WILL feel different because you will always have a little person to think about first and foremost, but work wise you will soon get back in the swing of it and wonder why you worried so much. You are you and you can't change that - if it's the right job for you and the right time, then everything will fall into place.

How did you find the return to work or are you yet to face it?

*Collaborative post