Many working professionals reach a stage or come across an event in their life when they decide to take a career break. Unfortunately, our culture is such wherein the majority of that working population is women. One of the most common reasons for women taking a career break is childbirth but there can also be other personal reasons which requires you to take a break in your professional journey. As an organisation, we have decided to remove the stigma of a career break by launching our #breakthebreak program. People go through a complete metamorphosis not only while taking a sabbatical but also while walking back into corporate life again.
As different as these two stages are, we are here to help you deal with your corporate rebirth gracefully and with sanity. Taking cues from the experienced professionals who have been through this transition successfully, we have come up with a well researched manual underlining things to keep in mind before heading out to the industry once again.
Just go with the flow
It may or may not have been an easy process for you to find a job after a break, to some it may come quicker and to others it may even take years. Irrespective of time, we all are anxious when we go back to work after a while. Remember to take each step as it comes and go with the flow as it will be quite helpful. Overthinking will not help the cause and can only worsen the anxiety. Facing each moment one by one helps to unfold your potential. The moment you get an offer, focus on the basic elements like joining date, daily transport, office time etc and park the rest temporarily. Start ticking off your list step by step, each day right from the offer letter to the joining date. Trying to accomplish everything together will leave you frustrated and less motivated. Remind yourself everyday that things will start to fall into place with time.
Build your infrastructure
While we strongly recommend not to overthink as stated above, the most important thing is to focus on creating a support infrastructure for yourself or your family or home before you join work. If you are a mother and coming back after a long sabbatical, chances are that a lot depends on you back home. Create a mechanism where things can work without your presence like hiring a nanny to take care of kids, enrolling in a daycare, setting expectations with your spouse, asking family/parents to support you, extra domestic help or even asking a neighbour to carpool to school/classes etc. Whatever you do, always keep a back up plan ready for emergencies or in cases where your regular support system may fail. The key is to automate all your dependencies so that things keep operating smoothly while you are away at work for 9 hours or even working from home at that time. Ask your spouse/parents/siblings to share the load and take over some of your responsibilities to help you balance. Your family including your children will need to understand that you would not be available during work hours and they need to manage the show without you. In case of non-parents or men who had been on a break for various other reasons, building an infrastructure is equally important.
Keeping yourself organized is a life-long mantra to ease out stress. Global research shows that most of the successful people are highly organized. Make a list of all the things that you need and everything that needs to be done on a daily basis after you start working. For example, buying a work wardrobe, organizing groceries in stock for the week, repairing your car, finalizing your mode of daily transport, extra appliances in the house. Getting all this in place before you get busy with work will help in taking a little load off your mind. For short term organizing goals, make sure that all important documents are ready, your vehicle always has fuel so mornings are not stressful, prepare your work wear one day before, plan your meals/breakfast/tiffins in the night, retire early to bed and get up at least 15 min before your scheduled time. The key is to plan everything a night before and ensure the basics are in place. Being organized will not only help you achieve targets in time but also help you transition through the new routine easily.
Speak to your manager/ HR
Keeping an open communication channel goes a long way. Before joining work, there are a number of things you need to plan and organise on the personal front. Similarly, on the professional front, you might have quite a lot of questions in mind since you would be joining after a gap and getting the right answers will only help you plan better. It is a good idea to make a list of queries and reach out to the point of contact or reporting manager or your HR at work who can resolve them for you. Another important point to note is in case you need to raise a flag in any area, talk it out with the concerned person at work beforehand. For example - if you are a parent and have a hard stop at a particular office time or have a preference to work in a day shift, the right time to discuss with the concerned person is before you join. Another example is, if you are a single female and have concern about late working hours due to safety issues, communicate at work & keep yourself informed on the cab/shuttle services and measures supported by the organisation. Setting the right expectations at work, discussing your concerns and getting all the important information around basics, office culture, timings, transport, compensation, benefits, holiday calendar, annual events etc, will help in long term and efficient planning.
Revise your knowledge
Being out of touch with work, corporate culture, your area of expertise or technology is enough to spin a person’s anxiety and confidence levels. At this time, it is natural to worry that there is a gap in your current skill set required for a fast moving industry. There is only one way to overcome that, which is to add knowledge to your resume and polish your existing skills. You may be completely outdated with the latest keywords or process but it is fixable if you work on it. You can target one topic for a day and build upon it for days to come till your joining and even continue this practice afterwards. Along with keeping yourself updated with the latest in your field, it is also advisable to revise what you already know. This is sure to give a good boost to your preparation and make your training phase simpler. As a result, this habit will keep adding to your confidence in bits and pieces.
Last but not the least, keep your fitness and health a priority always because without it, everything will seem tougher and harder. Your mental and physical health is of great importance as you embark on the road to your corporate rebirth. Indulge in whatever makes your body healthy - workout, yoga, gym, running, walking etc. and practice a healthy diet in your daily meals. Weekdays are expected to get busier for you so do spare some time for yourself for a few minutes in the day and maybe some extra on weekends. That will not only help you to keep pace with your busy schedule but encourage a better mental health as well. Maintaining good health will ensure you can work efficiently and handle day to day pressure.
We hope our tips were useful and will curate a smooth journey ahead for you. Please feel free to reach out to our teams and resources who have been in these shoes earlier and have beaten all odds and are currently performing above and beyond in the organisation.