Returning to your profession after a prolonged gap can be a challenge to both the returning professional and the firm.
Not only must ‘returnees’ must adapt to a changed work environment with a less-stable workforce and new technology, the biggest challenge returnees face is how to regain their confidence. This often comes down to expectations of performance – and operating at the same level as before. It is an expectation shared between firm and professional, and so should be proactively managed upfront through candid communication between employer and employee.
This is where coaching can help both the employer and the employee. Many leading firms develop their own change management programs to create an internal environment that supports and nourishes returnees.
For professional mums there are some great sources of material available, here is a selection from Dr Margaret Beaton’s blog Letting Go. Stepping Up:
In the Huffington Post last year there was a great article on Relaunching Your Career, which included some useful tips for returnees – two stood out:
+ You were smart and capable before your career break and you still are. No matter how hard or daunting this may seem, it is easier than some of the rally hard things you have done in life.
+ Do not underestimate the value of your core skills. Your value to an employer before you left was not simply a body of knowledge or list of clients. Your core competencies, be they analytic skills, leadership, sales ability, are all still there and remain an asset. Remind yourself of that and then make it sure it appears on your resume.
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