Monday, October 29, 2007

Returning to work and self doubt

Returning to work is not always a simple exercise for most people. You need to think about child care options, child care costs, drop off and pick up, sharing domestic duties etc etc. But probably the biggest problem many women face is a lack of self confidence. I experienced a lack of self confidence when returning to work 6 months after my first child was born - so imagine some people who have been out for up to 5 years. What I can share from my experience is that within a week of returning, I wondered why I had spent so much time doubting my abilities. In fact, think I returned to work as an even more productive employee.

How did you overcome a lack of self confidence when you returned to work? Or are you at the stage where you are looking for work and feeling self doubt?

1 comment:

livvyrich said...

Returning to work just this week has proven to me that the lack of flexibility in the employment market and waivering self confidence are the two biggest challenges that I faced after 14 months maternity leave. I decided on a change of stream during leave and took up studies when bubs was 4 months old. I was confident at the time that with 6 years of relevant experience behind me that finding a 'good' role would be a breeze once I felt ready to hit the rat race again. I chose the part time option purely for family reasons and set about networking, interviewing and researching my return into my chosen field. I had set my offering at 3 days a week. Firstly, there were major limitations on the style of roles which were sold as part time (I'm at executive level), secondly every company I approached/or was approached by built a business case around my abilities or weren't able to provide the flexibility and thirdly I was not willing to compromise my skill set and take a salary cut. The market feedback was negative and inflexible towards me. I was also told that my 3 days offering was too weak for any organisation and I'd have no credibility on joining them. My confidence was shot. I must have met with 30+ contacts/interviewers/recruiters who all had the same feedback. At the same time they told me how "flexible" companies were becoming and that they are out there educating them. Well, I've come from that field and the current recruitment market is less about consulting and creating an opprtunity than it is placing a candidate into the best fit. I was placed in the too hard basket. I was angry, frustrated, and felt terribly lost that I wasnt able to break through this mold. The thing was- I wasn't any different that before except I'd had a baby!!!
I was about to accept an average role which I was trying to get excited about when I received some great news. I was finally recognised by a major Australian organisation as having a fantastic offering for them. I did not need to compromise my criteria and now have what I would call the ideal balance. My advice is to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and not to compromise yourself and your needs. Keep pushing and educating 'them' because its worth it in the end. My confidence soared when I had my baby because I was suddenly responsible for a miracle and crashed hard when I had to face the employment market again...fancy the outside having sooo much impact. The new team is lovely and they are aware of my role as employee and mother. We need to be proud and fight for what we want to make sure that we live the full and satisfying life that we deserve. It's not always long on this earth.