Are you a stay-at-home mom? Have you taken a break from corporate America to be at home and raise your family? Maybe you’re thinking of dipping your toe back in the office pond? You’re not alone. It’s scary.
A few months ago, I got really excited about the thought of returning to a corporate job. I actually got way more excited than I expected to. Dare I say I was giddy. Suddenly, the thought of someone calling me by my actual name and not needing me to keep them alive was very appealing. I felt wanted for my brain and it was amazing.
Building a fulfilling career is a challenge that a lot of people struggle with. It takes years of pushing yourself in the right direction and doing the hard work to move up the ladder. It’s easy to end up back at square one in the process, especially if you take time out for personal reasons, like raising a family. Nobody wants to hear it but it’s true even if it shouldn’t be.
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Raising children takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s no wonder that you have to work twice as hard if you are trying to balance that with climbing the ladder in corporate America. Let’s be honest mamas and papas, I’ve only got two legs and after spending the day chasing little ones and running behind eye-rolling teenagers, my two legs and my brain are exhausted.
That shouldn’t keep us from having the careers we went to school for and worked so hard for before we became parents. Being a parent should not mean an automatic, go to jail do not pass go. We should not be penalized. Let’s be honest, parents need the money more than anyone else. Kids are expensive.
If you’re planning on returning to the workforce, hopefully, this post will help pump you up to go out there and do you.
Why Do It?
First, decide what your ‘why’ is? What is your reason for wanting to return to work? If you’re like me, your “why” are those little people whose butts and noses you’ve been wiping for the past few years. Then, get your head in the right space. There are so many reasons to want to build a career as your kids grow up, from wanting something different in your life to planning ahead for when the kids are grown. You have to decide what makes it worth it for you and your family. Obviously, there are benefits anyone would get from this, you’ll find a few below.
Money: While working any “job” can provide enough money for you to live on, especially if you are going from a 1 to 2 income household, but getting something higher up the ladder will obviously present the potential to earn more money. This extra money could go towards a vacation home, helping your kids as they start their own careers, traveling the world or just saving for a rainy day. But, I’ll be honest, if I’m leaving the house and my family, it’s got to be worth it, so the higher up the ladder, the better to me.
Satisfaction: Personal fulfillment is a big motivator. I used to speak 4 languages. Now, my first languages are baby gibberish and teen slang. Retirement sounds like the real American dream when you’re in a job you hate. However, the reality is that spending all of that time focused on yourself might not be all it’s all cracked up. You might actually find it to be boring, especially if you take early retirement. By building a career doing something that you love you can add a lot of satisfaction to your work life and when you do retire it will be because you’re ready to relax not because you are trying to get away from a job you hate.
Personal Value: Not everyone cares about being around other people, and will be happy to work for themselves for their entire life. If you value the community to live in, maybe you pursue a career as a way of increasing your personal value to your local area. For example, entering a new field where you are contributing value to your community may be something that you find fulfilling and fills a need for the people in your area.
Now that you’ve considered the benefits, time to think about how you’re going to build your career. First, decide on your direction. This doesn’t have to be as specific as the company you’d like to work for or the exact role you want, as long as it gives you a clear path to follow. Not a lot of people take this approach, but it can be a good idea to build your goals into something like a business plan. Having a plan will help you find your way to the career path you want.
This is a serious decision and it’s important that you consider everything and everyone this move will affect. You’ll want a career that you will enjoy and this will probably be the most important factor for most of us, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. It’s also worth considering the things that you’re good at, as well as those things that you struggle with. With these considerations in mind, it should be easy to find a fulfilling career path that you’ll love. You’ll need to do lots of research to find something you can jump into that meets all of your criteria.
There are several hurdles that you’ll need to overcome before you can find yourself a new career, and education is one of the biggest. It’s common for employers to expect degrees and certifications from potential employees, even if the jobs being advertised don’t require them. The market is oversaturated with qualified people. With Professor Google, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what you need and you can easily search for courses to upgrade your qualifications.
Research: This will start with a little bit of research, with each of the courses you have available asking for different requirements. There are websites out there which collect and compare qualifications, but you may have to do some extra searching to make sure that you’re not missing an option that could be perfect for you.
Type Of Study: Over the last few years, it’s become increasingly common for schools to offer e-learning courses. These options are perfect for those who want to raise children at the same time as learning. Not everyone will have the discipline or attention span for something like this, so seriously consider the commitment before you decide to take on something like a BBA online to become a business manager.
Get Qualified: Once you know what kind, of course, you’d like to take and how you’d like to do it, it’s time to start getting qualified. This could take anywhere from a couple of months to several years, making it hard for a lot of people to stay focused and motivated. If you start when your kids are babies, you’ll have lots of great opportunities to do some learning as they grow up. Or maybe you prefer to wait until they are in school all day, either way, where there is a will there is a way. You can do this.
Along with working on your education to build a new career or return to the one you had, you may also need to spend some time thinking about the experience you have. While you need to work to be able to get experience, most roles will expect a minimum of a few years working in an entry-level role before you can get into something better. For some people, this will be a normal part of progression, and it won’t be too hard to push yourself to work for a few years before you can get the job you really want. However, maybe you’ve been doing some on the job training as a parent that you haven’t even considered. For example, I think my organization and multitasking skills have definitely grown as I’ve been working with children for the past 14 years.
As your kids grow up, you will have plenty of opportunities to get experience. If you wanted to become an office manager, for example, it would make sense to spend some time working in the school office or a local doctor’s office. This can be done when the kids are at school, and even as little as one day a week can be enough to build the background you need. This will enable you to slip into your new career far more quickly once the kids have left home, and won’t force you to spend the first leg of your career doing entry-level work.
Getting Your New Job
After all of this effort, it’ll feel like you’ve done more than enough to get the job of your dreams. In reality, though, you still have to go through the application and interview process. Applying for the job you like is simple enough; you only need a resume and a cover letter. There are loads of resources around the web that can help you with this. Employers will get far more applications than they need, and your documents could end up simply being ignored. This isn’t something you can control but makes sense to cast a wide nest and apply for as many jobs as possible.
If you’re successful with your application, you’ll be asked for an interview, and this will usually be face to face. This can be equally terrifying and surprisingly exciting. This is where I got to in the process. Prepare for your interview. Even if you feel confident, a question you’re unprepared for can easily throw you off your game. There are lots of resources on the web to help you prep for an interview. You might get confusing and difficult questions, but it will be worth taking the time to think about each of them. Anything that makes you feel more at ease in the interview process is an asset and a weapon that puts you ahead of the other candidates.
In most cases, you will only ever hear back from an employer if you’ve got the job, with the rest of the candidates being ignored. It’s not worth letting your hope die if a couple of months go by, though, as a lot of businesses have to go through long processes to hire someone, and won’t be able to get back to you until everything is properly in place. Unfortunately for me, that position that I was really excited about got put on hold according to the last email I received from the HR department. But still, it felt good to be interviewed and see a company get excited about what I have to offer.
With all of this in mind, are you ready to take on the challenge of building a career while you’re a full-time parent? And what parent isn’t a full-time parent? This approach can make your future more enjoyable with more money, satisfaction, and skills you’ve ever had before all working together to provide you and your family with a higher quality of life.