We developed the Relaunch Readiness Quiz
to help women at home determine their readiness for returning by breaking down the back-to-work decision into quantifiable categories – their appetite for work, their childcare and eldercare demands, and their non-paid family and friend support system. It helps a mom determine whether she is ready to relaunch right now or whether she has to wait because of issues in one of the categories.
Another misconception is to undervalue and underestimate the time and thought that should be devoted to networking and speaking with people, either informally, or at the formal interview stage as opposed to resume writing. People, in general, tend to spend a lot of time on their resumes and less time on interview preparation and networking. Relaunchers in particular are most likely to find their working opportunities through contacts. We look at networking in terms of Contact Pools - people from your past, people from your present, and people from your future.
Finally, moms looking to return tend to get more focused on the where and the how of their work arrangement (as in “I’ve got to find something part time”) and less focused on WHAT it is they want to do. We think the focus should be first and foremost on the actual work the person wants to do, because the logistical arrangements of how that work can be done can change over time.
When moms return to work after taking time off, do they usually go back to the career they had before kids or do something different? Is changing careers something that’s possible when returning to the workforce?
One of the key steps in our 7 Steps is to assess your career options, which means you must go through a rigorous analysis of how your skills and interests have changed or have not changed during the time you have been on career break. We found that women fall into three categories when returning after time away and those are: 1) They go back to exactly what they left, 2) they go back to a permutation of their previous career, 3) they relaunch in an entirely new direction.
We found that for some women, the time at home gave them a chance to step away from their previous career path and reassess whether their first career choice was truly right for them. In fact, a few of the women we interviewed said that if they had not taken the career break they never would have had the opportunity to go through this reassessment and find that they really should be doing something entirely different. It is totally possible to change careers and we talk about how to educate yourself and prepare yourself to move in this new direction in the book.