Make Returning to Work…Work
Parents who take time off work to focus on family often, eventually, want to return to work. Unfortunately, many of them struggle to do so because systemic issues make it incredibly hard.
The years they’ve spent engaged in important unpaid domestic labor don’t translate to desirable experience on a traditional resume. They struggle to negotiate pay rates high enough to offset the costs of childcare they now need to pay someone else to do. The struggle is especially pronounced for working mothers, who get paid less (more than 25% less) than working fathers.
Don’t let these bleak realities discourage you. Use them as fuel for your fire. The system is beatable, especially as more and more people take it on. Keep reading to find tips for successfully breaking back into the workforce without neglecting family needs.
Tip: Missing a few years of traditional work experience? Own it. Talk up the experience you do have.
This Vogue article profiles one working mother who leveraged her caregiving experience to demonstrate her project-management skills.
“At Morgan Stanley, Galvin Casey’s time as a stay-at-home mom wasn’t a weakness, but a secret weapon. It turns out that years of caring for children and elderly parents was the perfect preparation for project management at the fourth-largest investment bank in the world.”
Tip: Take advantage of niche sites and opportunities designed just for parents returning to work, such as…
- Apres Group
- Path Forward
- Women Back to Work
- Returnships, such as those offered by:
Tip: Don’t try to hide a work gap. Address it head on. (You have nothing to be ashamed of, after all.)
One recruiter advised NBC News readers to focus on the reasons for the gap and the benefits of the gap instead of trying to tip-toe around it: “[Recruiters] are always looking for a narrative that is understandable that doesn’t raise a lot of eyebrows.”
Tip: And also don’t try to hide your new work life from your family.
Nurture a more perfect kind of work-life balance by talking honestly with your kids about your job. Tell them why you love it and why it’s important to you. Turn your job into a family interest instead of letting it become something that only gets in the way.
Tip: Never allow work to become anything but just work.
“What it’s really become is learning to have faith in work still showing up later. That I can trust it will be there for me in the future, so I don’t have to scoop up every dollar tossed my way in an endless hustle that living in poverty created inside me,” says Stephanie Land, writing for The Riveter.
Tip: Keep learning from and sharing with other working parents and caregivers. Find strength in solidarity.
Here are just a few of many resources to bookmark: