How to Find Your Career after a Break
Start with these 5 questions
Congratulations Momma! You’ve decided to re-focus on your own career! Between the dishes, laundry and constant tug on your leggings by your little one, even taking the time to think about what YOU want is a feat in itself!
So now what? You know you want to work, but what are the steps you need to take so you know how to find YOUR career? Whether you’ve taken a career break and are just considering going back or you are already working but feeling stuck, the biggest question is “what do I want to do?” It sounds so easy but it often brings up a lot of confusion and anxiety. So often times we start by asking our friends and family, what should I do? And then we turn to the Internet and start reading a lot of articles:
“Just Follow Your Passion!”
What’s the problem with this statement? For most of us moms, we truly aren’t even sure what our passions are anymore! When you’ve been so focused on your babies, there is a loss of knowing who we are outside of being a mom. Not to mention, now as a mom your priorities are shifting and what you did for work at 22 may no longer align with your goals. And while our friends and family often mean well, they tend to say things like “just look for something easy,” or “just focus on your kids, career can come later.” If those answers don’t work for you, where do you start?
Try asking yourself these 5 questions:
1. What is exciting to me?
Take a look at your day-to-day life. Even if you currently feel like your main job is chauffeur to your children and nothing is particularly exciting, consider what does grab your attention. When you are scrolling social media or reading, what grabs your attention most? Are there any parts of your day that make you feel energized? What about back in your previous pre-baby life? Consider opportunities outside of the office, like planning a fundraiser for your school. Think about how your body reacts to these occurrences. Do you get excited? Do you smile when you talk about these parts of your day or remember the work you did on those old projects?
2. What are my natural talents?
Why do people ask you for help? Is your family always asking you to create budgets and plans? Do your friends come to you to help them design their website? Do you naturally want to be at the front of the room sharing big ideas and presenting or do you dig into the details?
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3. What recognition am I receiving (from managers, peers, friends, clients)?
If you're having a tough time putting a finger on what talents you have, take a look at what you've been recognized for in the past and currently. Were you thanked for fixing a friend’s computer glitch when their entire home system crashed? Did your old boss thank you for jumping in at the last minute to help with a project? Take a look at what gets noticed by others. These may sound like small instances, but they're very valuable anecdotes to start to create a list of what’s possible.
4. What’s most important to me to feel successful?
Take a minute to imagine how you would feel after a successful day at work. What does that look like for you? Did you lead a team to help achieve business goals? Or maybe you concocted a solution for a tricky client barrier.
Success means something different to each of us. Mapping out what it means to you in terms of things like your work-life balance, daily tasks, flexibility and compensation will help bring you a step closer on how to find YOUR career and know it’s the right fit.
5. Why do you want to do the work?
There are two important parts to this one. First – why do you want to work? Whether it’s to support your family or just because you need some adult interaction, it’s important to understand your personal WHY. But knowing your personal why goes a step further…WHY do you want to do THIS work? As you start to gain clarity around what gives you energy and your talents, you ultimately need to connect to your work and that’s all about knowing why you are doing that work. How do you want to serve? Who do you want to serve? The majority of jobs are focused around service – whether it's for a client, a consumer or an individual. It’s important that your WHY aligns with the work you’ll be doing.
Take the time to learn how you work best, what you're good at and what makes you feel fulfilled, and then you will be on your way to finding out how to find your career.
Trust me – the right job will be much easier to find once you know what it looks like.