Have you ever taken a break from work or opted out of any part of your career? How did that go?
Over at Corporette we’ve shared tips for staying in the game as a stay-at-home parent, as well as how to indicate a sabbatical on your resume — and we’ve talked about not returning to work after maternity leave — but we haven’t talked about how those work breaks go.
Did you take time off beyond your maternity leave? (Are you pondering it now during the pandemic?)
I’ve never done it, but here are some tips I’ve picked up from the readers and friends who’ve taken a break from work:
Career Tips During Your Career Break
Strategic volunteering is your friend during your career break. It was defined as thus in an old article on women getting back to work:
Among the women I spoke with, those who didn’t have the highest academic credentials or highest-powered social networks or who hadn’t been sufficiently “strategic” in their volunteering (fund-raising for a Manhattan private school could be a nice segue back into banking; running bake sales for the suburban swim team tended not to be a career-enhancer) or who had divorced, often struggled greatly.
Stay connected with your career network, including going to alumni events!
Keep your heart open to new career avenues — I remember one reader who took a career break because her son had disabilities, and she unexpectedly found her way back to practicing law as an advocate for disabled people.
Re-Entry Tips When You’re Looking to Return to Work
Look into on-ramping — there may be a fellowship or specific career organization dedicated to “re-entry women” or “returners” in your industry (for example, The On-Ramp Fellowship, Women Back to Work, reacHIRE, iRelaunch, The Mom Project).
Reach out to your last big employer and ask if they’ve ever considered on-ramping internships or fellowships. (For example, Goldman Sachs has an entire section on their site about it!)
Further Reading on Career Breaks for Women:
- 14 Companies Helping Women Get Back to Work [Working Mother]
- Resume Tips for On-Ramping Women [HerMoney]
- How to Add a Career Pause to Your LinkedIn Profile [The Mom Project]
- Helping Stay At Home Parents Reënter the Workforce [HBR]
Readers who’ve taken a career break or opted out of your career for a bit, let’s hear from you — how’s it going? If you’ve returned to work, how did that go? What are the best tips you’ve read or lessons you’ve learned from friends or colleagues?
Stock photo via Stencil.