Careers For Moms Going Back To Work

KNOW YOUR VALUE

At that 2015 iRelaunch conference, I moderated a panel with four women who had participated in company-specific return-to-work internships. At the end, I turned to the audience for questions. Many wanted to know if these “returnships” were part of corporate social responsibility programs programs designed to help the community, not a given company’s bottom line.

What?

Companies aren’t being socially responsible when they hire relaunching women; they are being fiscally responsible. Why? Because they need smart, talented, engaged employees to help their businesses grow and thrive. And, given the latest research that has proven companies with diverse workforces and companies with women in leadership do better than those without, they need us. But our lack of confidence about our employability after a career break has us convinced otherwise. We have come to believe that when companies hire relaunching women, they are doing us a favor rather than realizing we have something of deep value to offer them

Companies aren’t being socially responsible when they hire relaunching women; they are being fiscally responsible. Why? Because they need smart, talented, engaged employees to help their businesses grow and thrive.

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Penny Locey is vice president at Keystone Associates, a firm that specializes in helping laid-off executives find jobs. She says, “No matter the reason for your career break, the most important thing a job hunter can do is to know their value and to remember it’s not about you, it’s about what the business needs.”

And what the business needs is committed, engaged employees. Engagement, or rather disengagement, is a hot topic these days. In 2013, Gallop released its Workplace Survey on Employee Engagement. According to their research, 70 percent of the U.S. workforce reports feeling disengaged, resulting in $550 billion in lost productivity in this country alone. Employees who are excited to be working and ready to commit themselves have, as Ruth Ross, author of Coming Alive: The Journey to Reengage Your Life and Career, wrote, “a true competitive advantage.”252

Ruth spent her career in human resources, most recently as an executive vice president at Wells Fargo. She saw employees come and go, but the ones she had no doubt would be successful were the women who had paused their careers.

“Women who are re-entering have a leg up on people currently in the workforce because they have had the chance to sit back and find their truth. This leads to authentic engagement with work,” Ruth told me.

Bob Plaschke, CEO of Sonim Technologies, sees this in the relaunchers he has hired. “In the past three years, I’ve hired three women who took career breaks. Without a doubt, they are some of the hardest working, easiest to manage, and most committed employees I have.”

It’s time to reframe the narrative that says college-educated, professional women who pause their careers have nothing to offer the workforce. If you have paused your career, the best thing you can do as you are job hunting is have confidence in what you bring to the table. Once you have that, you are ready to find the right job with the right company it’s out there waiting for you.

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