Thursday, January 10, 2008

What can you do to effectively prepare yourself to return to the workforce?

Returning to work can be a daunting experience for many parents. We tend to lose our self confidence and the ‘mother guilt’ takes a hold. Everyone experiences it. But the upside is that most parents who have returned to work love it. We ask mums all the time what they did to ensure a successful transition back to work. Finding good child care is the most important task. It makes sense – if your child is happy and enjoying their time away from you, you will be more confident in leaving them for the day. Secondly, consider your flexibility requirements. Do you want to work part time? If you are returning to the same employer, make sure you have the discussion at least a few months before your return to work. Ideally you should have spoken to your employer before starting maternity leave. Australia is experiencing a skills shortage, so make sure you negotiate a flexible return to work if you want to. Thirdly, ensure that you and your partner talk about sharing responsibilities. For example, who will do drop off and pick up? Who is responsible for cooking each night of the week? Finally, focus on your career to date. Is your resume updated? If you have been out of the workforce for over a year, do you need to get up to speed on changes in your industry? Have lunch with your work colleagues. Attend some team meetings in the lead up to your return to work. This will help you feel more self confident.

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