Article: Unleash career 2.0


Unleash career 2.0

Here are a few points to keep in mind when you decide to re-join work after a sabbatical.
Unleash career 2.0

Women play multiple roles in their lives. They are daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, wives, working professionals etc. Sometimes one or the other role needs greater attention and women put their careers on the back burner and hit pause on their own ambitions. Marriage, motherhood, relocation, taking care of an elder, taking care of siblings, continuing education—there are several reasons for a break or sabbatical from a career.

Some of you might be able to control the exact timing of your return to your career while others might have to play it by the ear to see what would be the most optimal time to reboot their professional lives. All of us, however want to be ‘ready’ to take the plunge when the opportunity comes. You might find getting back a little challenging, especially, if the break has been long. You will find things have changed: continuity has been disrupted, connections are lost, technology has evolved, people and organizations have moved on. A little planning, along with your innate desire to grow & learn, can make the ‘return’ exciting, exhilarating and stress free! When you decide to restart your career, you don’t have to hurry to achieve all your goals and make up for the time away, all at once. Pace yourself, absorb the new environment, learn and settle in and then the sky is yours! As the famous saying goes  “I Can and I Will… Watch Me”.  

The first step of preparedness is awareness. Here are a few nuggets that I’d like to share with you for a successful return to your career.

Technology skills & domain knowledge: While you are away from work, it might be a good idea to update yourself on the latest technology developments that are critical to your domain. Do you need to learn new accounting software or new coding language? Arm yourself with impactful certifications that will multiply your effectiveness when you are back at work.  Online platforms like Udacity, Coursera and Simplilearn are extremely convenient and impart top quality knowledge.

Hone your soft skills: Your sabbatical may actually offer you a much needed window to hone your soft skills. You may have always felt the need to up the game as far as public speaking is concerned. May be this is the time to join the local ‘Toastmasters Club’ to get over your inhibitions and become a champion public speaker. 

Stay ‘connected’: If possible, even during the sabbatical, try to stay connected with your professional contacts. Participate in ‘meetups’ around your professional interests or share your knowledge with the academic community via ‘guest lectures’.  When the time is right, let the world know that you are planning to get back into action. Revive your connections, announce your plans and let your intent be known. Your network can alert you to professional opportunities when you decide to seek them.

High energy: It is important to have that same energy, enthusiasm and emotional & physical fitness level to ensure you bring your ‘A’ game to the table.  Engaging in sports, meditation, yoga, and other interests will keep you at peak and your physical, mental and emotional health and will ensure that you return to the rigor of a work routine with ease.

Prepare well for the interview process: Be forthcoming and honest about the reasons for taking a sabbatical. You would do well to keep a checklist of five key points on what you did during the long break. Articulate clearly your reasons to get back into the professional world. The more in control you are of your decision and the fact that you are ready to take charge of the next phase in your working life, the better it will be for the organization to bring you on board.

On a new career path: A long break is also a period of deep introspection, it is possible that during this period, you may find your self drawn to another interest or skill and you may wish to consider that as your new career. Don’t hesitate to chart a new course! You can do anything that you desire to do. So many women have become very successful entrepreneurs after emerging from a break, or have equipped themselves with enough skill in an area very different from the one they started their career in. 

Support network: Ensure that your family and friends are aware of the shift you are about to make. Having them on your side will make a world of difference as you re-enter the professional world and take on fresh challenges. It will also give you the confidence and peace of mind to know that you can count on your loved ones for support, encouragement, constructive feedback and a generous helping hand. 

As you start the second innings of your professional journey, I leave you with the words of Dr. Maya Angelou:  “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within”

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Topics: Diversity

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