When I took break from my professional life for my baby, never did I think that this is the last time I am going to office. Like every other woman, I had it perfectly planned. And then, life happened! My break lasted for almost 3 years.
This is a common story with women across the globe. As per Nation Sample Survey organization, nearly 20 million Indian women quit their jobs between 2004 – 2012. More than half never returned. The data is demotivating.
Being a part of the process myself, I know how daunting this maternity break can be. Particularly for women who have spend their mid-night oil studying and trying to make their mark. And just when we think we have reached somewhere on the corporate ladder, our biological clocks start ticking.
It is heart-breaking journey. My break, like many other women’s, was bitter-sweet. I was overjoyed to be a stay at home mom, watching my baby grow. But at the same time I missed my work. I missed the freedom that came with it. This was not me! My identity was not limited to being a ‘Mother’ alone.
After lot of deliberation, introspection and sleepless night, I finally found courage to restart. To give myself a second chance. Though I am no way near to what I could have achieved, had the sabbatical not happened. But at least I am happy that I am trying to do something. I happy to have a vision, a goal for myself again.
Recently in one of the mommy groups that I am part of, I realized how many more like me are there. When I started I had nobody to guide me or mentor me. So, today after having treaded almost 2 years of this journey, here are my two cents on how to restart your career after motherhood.
How to Restart Your Career Post Motherhood
1. Stay Motivated: It is hard to find motivation when you think your professional life is over. But staying motivated is the only way. Don’t let anything rust your enthusiasm.
2. Rediscover Yourself: Utilize this time to understand and discover yourself. Make a list of your priorities and see where does your career goals fit in. Introspect and re-align your career goals.
It is only natural that motherhood has become your top-priority and you wish to work only for a few days a week.
3. Read & Grow: Once you know where you stand, read. Read a lot about topics and areas that interest you. Think of this break as a prep time to start something you have always wanted. Gain as much knowledge as you can.
For those of you, who are planning to get back to their jobs, read about your profession and try to acquire additional skills which might help you get back. Or simply give you an extra edge.
4. Close in the Gaps: After you have gained the expertise of the field you want to venture in, close in the gaps. Do a market research to see where you fall behind, what options are available for you in the job market and how you can bride the gaps.
Go through portals like JobsForHer, Avtar I-Win and HerSecondInnings. You might stumble of some freelancing work or assignment based opportunities that suit your needs. Portals like Internshala can help you find paid internships. The only way to find out is to search.
5. Plan out your Child’s timetable: This is one major pain point for mothers returning back to work. They feel guilty of not being with their kids and not giving them time they used to. Planning your child’s activities (or their summer holidays) while you are at work will give you solace and comfort.
Once you have worked out the above steps, all you need is to trust yourself and keep going. Give yourself time to learn and grow and be kind to yourself. It is not going to be easy but definitely worth a shot.