As you consider what’s next and how to return to the workforce after a baby in a way that works for both you and your family, here are a few considerations that will ensure the process is as painless as possible. You might even find that you love the challenge and the opportunity it presents.
Compassion for Moms
Give yourself a break. I sound like a broken record but this sentiment applies to so many situations, especially when parenting young ones. This is a big change and while you might not be 100 percent ready, know that the process will guide you. You made the decision to begin the job search process because it is right for you and your family. From identifying opportunities, to updating your resume and social channels to put your best foot forward, it can be fun to think about yourself beyond the role of mama.
Know that the process will likely involve some growing pains but outlining what you want and pursuing opportunity that both fills you up and stretches you will ease the transition. Work for the sake of work serves no one. Allowing yourself the time and space to explore, network and fine-tune, will allow you to return to the workforce in a way that is right for you.
Who You Know
Did you know that 85 percent of jobs today are filled through networking? (1) The job market has changed and how you get a job has changed along with it. Beyond your experience and qualifications, so much relies on who you know. This is a hard truth for many and not everyone is a natural networker. But when you consider the challenge of hiring in a constantly changing and connected world, a referral goes a long way in vetting a potential employee and ensuring organizational fit.
Networking is not a quantity game but one of quality and there are so many ways to build connections. From connecting on Linked to scheduling informational calls and meeting, to convening over coffee or a meal, the key to successful networking is the intention. Understand that everyone’s time is valuable and outlining what you want to get from a networking encounter will ensure the engagement is a positive use of everyone’s time. A bit of front loading goes along way. So consider why you want to connect with this person, what you most want to learn from them and how you can provide something in return. They will appreciate the forethought and intention, and you will gain so much more from the engagement because you took the time to plan.
The Right Fit
As you search for the right opportunity, don’t settle. It’s easy to get caught up in what makes something a good job vs. the right job. From a solid salary and great benefits to a surplus of PTO, none of this matters if you dread going to work each day. Compensation is a part of the package but not the only thing.
Finding the right fit will make your return to the workforce less stress and possibly even exciting. Fit speaks to the role and how it fits with your passions and experience, the organizational culture, flexible scheduling, proximity to home, business values, and more. Ask yourself what your dream role might look like and also understand why that is your dream role. Then set that as the end objective. Pursue your passion. Focus on fit. And refuse to settle. Because settling never results in lasting happiness.
Balancing It All
As you return to work, balancing everything will become increasingly challenging. There is no shortage of resources or recommendations about how to “do it all.” Step one is to realize that you can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all. Whether you are returning to work after a short maternity leave or several years of being home with the kids, I created a survival guide for work and life after baby, as well as shared tips for managing your time and even harder yet, how to cut the mom guilt when going back to work.
The key to balance is prioritization. From knowing what you can and want to do, outsourcing when and where possible, there will always be competing priorities and constant demands for your time. Balance is about knowing what matters and focusing your time and attention there. As you ease back into the routine of work and less time with family, know that it will take time to find a routine that works for your family. The early days and weeks might feel chaotic and overwhelming, but a natural rhythm will develop over time and you will find what works for your family.
How to Return to the Workforce as a New Mother
Perhaps you are considering a return to work in the future. It’s never too early to plan for the transition and prepare yourself for the marketplace.
- Start networking. While this may not be the first priority, making time to connect with organizations and/or professionals in a certain field will help ensure the proper fit and that you are getting what you are worth.
- Practice your craft. Find ways to gain experience or stay relevant within your field of interest. Are there opportunities to freelance? Networking events or conferences you can attend? Not only is this a great way to grow your resume, it might also open doors you hadn’t yet considered.
- Find support. At a time of significant change and transition, there is a great benefit in talking through your options with an objective third party. Someone who wants to ensure you are doing what is best for you (and your family), without sacrificing your wellbeing. A wellness coach does just that – learns about you and your goals, and partners with you to create a path forward with support and accountability. Find a coach that you feel fits your specific life situation the best.
I offer a free 15-minute call to talk about your specific situation and start creating solutions for you to find a role that’s a perfect fit for you and your lifestyle, but also taking a look at maintaining your overall wellbeing as you navigate this new chapter in your life.