How To Prep For Getting Back To Work?

Last updated 19 Dec 2017 . 4 min read

Many of us live in nuclear families, but how important is the family support when you are restarting your career? Lalana Zaveri, Leadership Development Trainer & Coach at Navgati explains, “Most of the successful women - Chanda Kochhar, Sheryl Sandberg - have had fantastic support from their husbands and family. And I will not deny that family support goes a long way in helping us restart, as well as sustain our careers.

Lalana Zaveri
Lalana Zaveri


At the same time, there are also women I know who have taken the (very) difficult path of going against family wishes when support was not forthcoming. They have forged their own path. These women have taken tough calls about leaving their children in an all day playschool, or deciding to not have children at all to pursue their careers. Life is all about choosing one priority over another, and doing it at regular (or irregular) intervals. Make your choice, live with it, give it your best, then revisit the choice and see if you want to change it. Repeat the cycle. Don’t force yourself to live with one decision for the rest of your life.”

Being worried about outdated technologies and skills is another challenge that women restarters often face, if you have been away from your field for a very long time. Lalana feels that the confusion on what to do next is natural. She says, “It might be worth your while to do a short course in something completely different from software development, but something that you have an interest in and explore other work options that allow you to work temporarily and from home. It is a great idea to take up part-time assignments during or after a break. Even if they don’t last long, I believe that every small experience contributes to learning and development. As Steve Jobs said, the dots will connect later, don’t worry”.

Should you negotiate salaries after a break? Is a popular question asked by many women restarting a career after breaks. Lalana believes, “You should ask for what you think you deserve, be ready to hear a “no”, be willing to compromise, but set a limit to how much you are willing to compromise. Don’t give up on anything that you feel is needed to keep you happy – that might be pay, or it might be the type of work – that’s up to you to decide, and it can change over time.”

Women entrepreneurs who are trying to carve their niche, face a different set of challenges and Lalana’s advice is, “Yes, it clearly is not easy being a woman entrepreneur or an entrepreneur in general. There are a lot of perceptions that the world has about women, especially women who have taken up a leadership role. It is sometimes useful to block out the world and focus on our work. Constructive feedback should be taken and worked on, but if we open ourselves to every unreasonable criticism that comes our way, you are right, our time will just be spent wallowing in negative, non-constructive thoughts.”

In a survey, 100 women were asked ‘what was the biggest hurdle they face when restarting their career?’ A staggering 70% of the women said it was the mindset, the change in lifestyle and going back to a 9 to 6 job. Lalana points out, “It is perfectly natural to feel nervous about jumping into a 9-to-6 job after having been completely detached from that routine. So it is a good idea to ease yourself in. Organisations are becoming more and more open to the idea of allowing for part-time employees and also allowing people to work from home. If you wish to jump into a 9-to-6 scenario, you would need to plan things in a way that your environment supports that decision.”

Did you face any issues while getting back into the workforce? How did you tackle them? Let us know in the comments below.


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