The decision to return to work after having children or after being a full time carer is never an easy one. The decision will be fraught with ‘what ifs’ and ‘can I do its’ but ultimately the decision is yours and once you have made that decision to return to work the first and maybe the most difficult step is done.
Once you have made your decision to return to work, it is worth spending some time thinking about what you have to offer. If need be sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of skills you have gained through both previous work experience and the general life skills which you’ve developed during your time away from work. You’ll probably surprise yourself with the list that you come up with. Show me a parent or a carer who doesn’t have ‘excellent listening and communication skills’ or ‘the ability to multi-task in a fast paced environment’. We all have a lot to offer irrespective of our circumstances, background or work history. The important thing is to value what we have to offer.
Today’s workplaces are constantly evolving and you may find you have to adapt to these cultural changes or maybe learn new skills. There may be some areas you feel less confident in such as technology. However, do not be disheartened, there are a large number of training courses available that can help boost your confidence in such areas.
You may be returning to work for a number of reasons. Whether it’s financial necessity, the need for intellectual stimulus or the desire to start or reignite a career, make sure you apply for jobs which are going to meet your needs. Searching for a job can be a minefield of adverts and opportunities but don’t feel obliged to apply for everything. You have a lot to offer and the right job and the right employer will see this, but don’t sell yourself short by applying for jobs which do not fulfil your own needs. Think about what you want out of a job and then apply for those jobs which meet your criteria.
There are a number of important factors you need to think about which will help your transition from home life to the workplace:
- Look at your finances and work out how much money you ‘need’ to earn. Remember to factor in the expenses you’ll incur whilst working such as travel expenses, lunches, work clothes and possibly childcare.
- If you have children give some thought to childcare arrangements. Who will look after your children whilst you’re at work and how much will this cost?
- Are you looking for full time or part time work? Would you prefer a permanent position or a contract role? Would flexible working better suit your needs?
- If you are a carer do you receive any funding? If you do, then you need to check whether going back to work would affect your entitlement to the funding.