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Reenter the Business World After Staying Home with Your Kids

  • 2002 27 Mar
Reenter the Business World After Staying Home with Your Kids
When a woman chooses to become a stay-at-home mom, it's not necessarily a lifelong decision. In many families Mom plans to re-enter the business world after her children reach school age. She may worry, however, that she'll have problems breaking back into her profession once she's ready to do so.

This is a valid concern, and if you're planning to go back to work when the kids get older, there are some definite steps you should consider while you're at home.

"Goodbye" or "See You Later"?
First of all, do you want to go back to the same company, or even the same line of work? ...

Top Ten List for Improving Your Chances of Being Rehired
1. Occasionally call or visit work friends and associates.

2. Keep abreast of company changes and the evolution of different departments, especially your former department and those departments you might be interested in working with in the future. Contact the personnel office periodically and check on job postings, which will give you some insight as to new positions being created and areas of growth within the company.

3. Ask to remain on the mailing list for the office newsletter, and keep up on employee achievements. Send congratulatory notes to supervisors and coworkers celebrating special business successes such as promotions and employment anniversaries. Congratulate them on personal milestones, too, such as engagements or new babies.

4. Update professional licenses and certificates, even if you're not using them right now. Don't allow them to lapse if you intend to put them to use in the future. It's much smarter to maintain your present level of certification than to allow yourself to backslide, making catching up later more difficult.

5. Sign up for an occasional evening or weekend course at the local college, or undergo periodic testing to renew or sharpen skills. Take the opportunity to enroll in classes that will improve your chances for promotion if you choose to return to the workplace.

6. Continue memberships in professional organizations, and don't miss a meeting. When you attend such functions, dress in business attire.

7. Attend cutting-edge conferences and retreats whenever possible. Once again, dress appropriately - skip the jeans and sundresses, even if everyone else is wearing them. Outfit yourself just a little bit more formally than the others; aim to look polished instead of ostentatious.

8. Read current periodicals and books, keeping your finger on the pulse of your profession. Watch the news, both local and national.

9. If you have access to the Internet, use it to find the most up-to-minute information on your former company and its competitors. Read newsgroup postings and participate in international chatroom discussions with people in your field. The next time you run into your supervisors, surprise them with your knowledge of industry trends.

10. Usually the world will view you as you view yourself. Set the tone - project the air of a competent professional, whether working at home or in the office, and others will respond to you in the same manner. ...

Top Ten List for Planning a Future Career
1. Make sure it's something you'll really enjoy. Take time to think through your personal and professional goals, and choose a new direction that will give you more satisfaction than you formerly experienced in the workplace.

2. Garner your husband's support. Whether you develop a new career that will take you back into the workplace after the kids are in school (or some other milestone you have tentatively set) or you strike upon a job you can perform from home, be sure your mate is rooting for you.

3. The date of your anticipated return to work should be completely flexible. Don't plant a time bomb that stresses out you or your family.

4. If you already know someone who is in your dream job, ask if you can interview the person, thereby gathering invaluable insight as to the inner-workings of your proposed profession. Develop a positive relationship with your contact through occasional letters, phone calls and lunches.

5. Pinpoint local companies as prospective future employers. Use the Internet and print media to gather information on these companies and their competitors; keep abreast of industry changes and how these changes affect local employers.

6. Develop and polish skills by signing up for evening or weekend courses at a local college, or tackle correspondence courses you can study at home.

7. Join professional organizations and attend their meetings, especially when workshops are given. Training and networking gleaned through such classes are invaluable in building skills and confidence.

8. Plan to acquire any necessary licenses or certificates, as appropriate.

9. If possible, do some freelancing from home in your new field - even if you aren't paid a lot - to test yourself. Early in my writing career I began writing an unpaid column for other stay-at-home moms for my local newspaper. The experience I gained in developing my writing skills and meeting weekly deadlines proved priceless.

10. "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain" (Psalm 127:1). This is true of your ... plans to become a fulfilled and happy stay-at-home mom, as well as in considering your future career outside the home. Don't make a move in either direction without God's clear leading.

The same God who provided a new and exciting professional direction in my life is willing to work in your life, too. What makes this so thrilling is that God knows us right down to our toes - even better than we know ourselves - and he has the benefit of knowing what the future holds for us. With what better person could we entrust our professional and personal goals?

Excerpted by permission from So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom, copyright 1999 by Cheryl Gochnauer.  All rights reserved.  Published by InterVarsity Press,, 1-800-843-4587.

Cheryl Gochnauer is a stay-at-home mom living in Kansas City, Mo., with her husband and two children. She writes regularly for the Kansas City Star.

Have you made the transition from staying at home with your kids to rejoining the business world? If so, what was the experience like for you, and what advice and encouragement would you like to offer other Moms considering the transition? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.