14 Aug 2019
When you join your first job, straight out of campus, one thinks we can change the world! It was a semi-government organization, and I hardly saw any of my dreams coming true! Moved on in 9 months to managing HR for a small organization, and never looked back! Navigating life stages and keeping one's career at the fore, to my mind is one of the biggest challenges. I did step out of the corporate world, but created an enterprise which employs around 30 women who have come back after a break.1. Keep your network alive: When a motherhood break happens, women find their networks transforming radically from business contacts and alumni connects to mommy groups and breastfeeding support communities. In the beginning, this change is drastic and even refreshing. But do not let go of your professional networks, make time to stay in touch with mentors, colleagues, even your juniors. Keep in touch with what is going on in the industry but even the world at large. Definitely create time to grab coffees, to return calls and respond to emails. 2. Get buy-ins from stakeholders: When you’re thinking about going back to work, you need to ensure that everybody in your ecosystem is on the same page. Have conversations with your spouse around load-sharing, get support from in-laws and even have conversations with your kids, no matter how young they are. 3. Invest, invest, invest: Your career is a very important aspect of your life. Do not treat it lightly. Before you are back in the fast lane, make sure that you create an environment of least distraction for yourself. Invest in your ecosystem - hire a good nanny or find and test drive a really reliable daycare. 4. The process and the interview: Always prepare your CV well. Research the role, and make yourself relevant but be honest. You will have a setback in your growth path and you may have to restart lower than your peers. Don’t make that a constraint but focus on getting back so that you can bridge the gap. Do not discount your breaks, they are legit breaks and you don't need to feel sorry about them. Things will change a lot so give yourself enough time to get back on track. If done well, within a time period of 6 months to a year, you could be in a place where it feels like you never took a break. 5. Finally, getting back: Establish a very robust plan in place. E.g. if you opt for daycare, make sure your kids get used to it a few months before you start working again. This buys you time to organize things and allows your children to realize that mom will not be around all the time. Establish that normalcy. Be ruthless about prioritization, and leave guilt out of the equation. 7. On Change: Career breaks can be great - if you want to pivot or reboot or establish your own business, this is a fantastic opportunity to press the reset button. You can get the time to think your plan through, create something from scratch, build it, and find resources. Use the break to tick off items on your bucket list - something you had been wanting to try but never got a chance, be it music or art or trekking. Sometimes, new career directions can come out of these activities. If you are anyway going to restart, you may as well explore things that you love and you might find something there.