Steps You Can Take to Enter Professional World after Taking Time Off to be a Caregiver
Taking care of my mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s meant I had to step off the career path for several years and move into a less stressful job that took care of my basic financial needs, but allowed me the flexibility to be there for Mom. After Mom died, I began to think about how to step back more fully into the workforce. Fortunately, I already was working part-time for a consulting company and was able to increase the hours I worked in order to begin to ramp up my career.
In thinking about what others may face who may not have been able to integrate a part-time job with caregiving, I found an article featured in the September 2008 issue of More magazine enlightening. The article, “Bounce Back into the Workforce” written by Rebecca Barry, targets women who are trying to reenter the workforce after raising kids; however, I believe that these ideas also are useful if you’ve had to take time out for caregiving. Some tips you can glean from this article include:
- The crucial element in making a successful professional comeback is confidence.
- Utilize the relationships you already have (whether friends or professional acquaintances) to help you make connections that can lead to a new job.
In an accompanying article, Virginia Sole-Smith suggests the following strategies:
- Create a master contact list in order to focus your networking. From that list, create (1) a personal board of directors who can provide feedback on problems you may face; (2) a business network, which also includes renewing your memberships to professional organizations; and (3) potential paths to employment through involvement in various groups, whether the PTA, a career group, or an alumni association.
- Utilize on-line professional networking communities.
- Educate yourself on changes in your professional field.
Using these ideas can help those who have stepped away from their careers in order to devote themselves to caregiving begin to reconnect with the professional world. It may take awhile to find a great job, but every effort you make toward networking will move you further down that path.