Nowadays parents constantly face the juggle of trying to ‘have it all’, a happy family life alongside a successful career, with many (women in particular) feeling that ultimate dream is beyond them. The worry of childcare and stress of finding flexible employment means many parents end up getting off their career ladder and staying at home with the children in their formative years.
But what happens when the children get older and gain some independence? Does the old you start to creep back, wanting to gain a different identity than being a stay at home parent? How easy is it to go back into employment after an extended career break? Are there employers out there who are interested in candidates who have big ‘child size’ gaps in their CVs?
This was certainly the case for Lynn Witten, a stay at home mum to two children who was filling her time running a busy household whilst also studying counselling part time.
Prior to children, Lynn had been a Business Development Manager for BMI, the private hospital group, and BUPA. She had always enjoyed her career but working for big corporates just didn’t fit with raising a young family and Lynn found herself increasingly reluctant to remain in the aggressive corporate environment where she constantly had to prove her worth.
But, ten years rolled quickly by, and Lynn found herself becoming restless. The children were more independent and she realised it was important to her to feel she was setting them a good example. She wanted them to see her working and having a career. Most importantly, though, she wanted the ‘old Lynn’ back.
Initially she updated and posted her CV online and registered with various recruitment agencies. She had her doubts whether she would be successful in even getting a company to look at her having been out of the corporate game for so long. She worried she didn’t have anything to offer an employer. Trying to return to work was certainly a daunting prospect. In Lynn’s words, “who was going to take me seriously?”
Luckily for Lynn she connected with Stephanie Dillon from Inclusivity Partners and from then on everything was plain sailing. Stephanie specialises in ‘Lynn’s’ and was instantly able to put Lynn at ease with a phone interview. Even though it was the first time Lynn had been interviewed in over ten years, as soon as she talked to Stephanie she felt supported. Stephanie understands what it must feel like to be out of the workplace for a period of time and to lose all your confidence. By the time Lynn had finished communicating with Stephanie she felt like she “could conquer the world!”
It wasn’t long after their initial chat that Stephanie matched her with a fantastic employer who was looking for exactly her type of experience. The companies Stephanie collaborates with are passionate about parents returning to the workplace after a career break and embrace flexible working. Lynn’s future employer was no exception and actually looked on her career break as a positive.
Since then, Lynn’s life has turned around. She comments:
“I am able to work part time and still be there for my children for Sports Days, school plays etc. The biggest benefit has been to realise my own worth and that I still have something to offer society. I feel appreciated and my opinion matters and my knowledge and experience are still relevant. My self-confidence has returned and it’s fantastic to earn my own money again”.
We asked her whether she would recommend returning to work after a career break, Lynn responded:
“YES! I feel truly blessed that Stephanie at Inclusivity found me and matched me with Emma at Vascular Solutions. To anyone out there thinking of returning to work, don’t be afraid to dip your toe in. It may take a while to find the right employer/position but the payback to feel that you are contributing to society and are a valued member of the work place is amazing. To have your self-confidence restored (which I lost when I had my children) is truly amazing”.
If you are looking to return to work, have had a career break of 18 months or more and live within the North East or Edinburgh, Virgin Money would like to talk to you. Click on the following link to learn more about the Virgin 13 week ReCareer programme that is designed to offer a supported route back to work Virgin ReCareer programme