Preparing for the Comeback

Motherhood changes everything, doesn't it? I feel it is equivalent to a tornado in a woman's life. It changes one's DNA - well, almost.

In a recent book written by Reva Seth, The Mom Shift, she talks about how motherhood has emerged as a reason for many women to question the value their work is providing to them. This questioning often results in women quitting their jobs to be the primary care givers to their children.

On the other hand, Sheryl Sandberg, in her book, Lean In, talks about why women should not quit till they really need to quit. Recently, in a Life Balance Workshop I was conducting for women leaders in a corporate, a senior business leader shared her tip with the women in the room. She said - continue to work for 2 years after having a child and then you will find a way to go on. It may resonate with a few, may not with others, but at the end of it, what is important is this:

  • You have the ability to spend as much time with your child as you believe your child needs
  • Motherhood does not consume you so much that you lose your identity and live everyday thinking 'what if..'

In the event you did give up your job after having a child and are now in a position to get back to work, how should you really get started?

Here are some simple guidelines you can follow:

  • Start with identifying your goals for getting back to work - what do you want to do? Is it to be financially independent or is it to do work that makes a significant impact on the society or is it to keep yourself productively occupied? Many times, we tend to miss thinking about this and might land ourselves in the wrong kind of job, only to realize it was a mistake and then quit again.
  • Next, list down your constraints. Skipping this step would only create bad blood between you and the employer and hence, it is important to not only acknowledge your constraints of timings, leaves, flexibility required but also to be able to have an open discussion about these with your prospective employer. Is a job a practical option for you?
  • Establish your financial target. How much do you want to earn? Is money critical to you? How much can you realistically make given the constraints, skills and the experience you have?
  • List down the resources you require. Do you need some money to invest in your resume or to reskill yourself? Do you have an adequate network in your city and virtually to enable you to get the desired job? If you have decided to become an entrepreneur, how can you get plugged into women entrepreneur networks?
  • Still confused? Get a coach. There is an abundance of coaches available nowadays, who specialize in helping entrepreneurs launch their business and those who specialize in helping you identify the right career option for you. Coaching is about getting that much needed clarity and push in the right direction. Why hire a coach? Well, why not?
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