We have all been there sometime in our lives.
Remember, when you were young and missed school for a few days? You'll recall that when you returned, it seemed like you had missed out on a ton of work. And, you no longer seemed to be in the loop with your friends. Sometimes, it could take weeks to feel caught up --- with work and friends.
Or, maybe you were injured playing on a team sport in high school or college. You built up camaraderie among your teammates while practicing all the time, then got hurt. It could take weeks, months, even years to get back to where you once were before the injury. Unable to participate might have made you feel less valued as a team player. The climb felt insurmountable to get back on top.
These are just a couple of examples of life situations that slow you down or stop you in your tracks. Remember the feeling that you were on top of your game -- but then life happened and you found yourself starting all over again? You probably wondered, "Can I get back where I was and be successful?"
As a mother of two boys, I found myself in a life situation that many of you have experienced or are experiencing right now.
In 2000, my husband and I got married, and a year later I decided to begin consulting on my own and started Sharp Human Resources. A year after that, in 2002, we started our family. I was able to keep working, take on projects and control my own schedule with baby #1. After baby #2 came along I decided to cut my schedule way back and spend more time with our boys.
I was always wondering if, once my sons were older, I would be able to jump back into my career again, or would I have to start all over? In 2012, I decided to make the leap back into the workforce more wholeheartedly.
Feelings of uncertainty about a multitude of things flooded my thinking prior to 2012. Questions like: How would I balance work/life? Am I still capable? Can I juggle it all? Do I remember everything I need to? Will people remember the kind of work I did? The list went on and on.
The hardest part for me was pushing myself to take the first step. Once I did, everything else started to fall into place. I was able to get the answers to my questions. Yes, I am still capable. I didn't lose my ability. I can manage work, life, and family. Our children are older now, so we can share responsibilities. It can be doable with a little pre-planning.
Today, I assist people deciding to re-enter the workforce, those deciding to change career paths, or those needing a change in opportunity. Since, I, myself, have taken a detour in my career, I have a much better understanding of some of the challenges that candidates face as they re-enter the workforce. Plus, I have not taken the straightest path on my journey. I have been described as having an eclectic background and I have used that to my advantage.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some of the steps to take to get back in the game:
1. Make the decision. Yes, you can do it. If you find yourself thinking about it more and more, or remembering the days when you were on top of your game and find you miss it, then push yourself to take that first step. Just decide that you are going to start the journey.
2. Make a game plan. First, have a discussion with your significant other, if you are in a relationship, or with your closest friends. If you have kids, and depending on their ages, you might want to have a family meeting and get them comfortable with the idea that you are planning on working again. Getting moral support from those closest to you is very important.
3. Plan a time line. If you have been out of the workforce for a number of years, you will need time to get things in order and plan your return. Each step you take helps make you more comfortable in taking the next.
4. Start to make connections. Once those closest to you know your plans, start spreading the word that you are looking to get back into your career. The more people are aware, the more opportunities present themselves.
5. Take a deep breath. The first hurdle is over. You made the decision, you have your support team behind you, you are beginning to spread the word that you are on your way back into the workforce.
Next week's topic will be resume writing. Follow us on Facebook.