5 Things to Discuss with your Family BEFORE Restarting your Career
- Back to Work
- 27 Jun 2018
You've come as far as deciding to restart your career. That's the first step in the right direction. And for that, well done!
But now, you need to clear your head, think about what you need to do in order to guarantee a successful restart.
And the first thing that you absolutely must do is to discuss this decision with your family.
No, we're not saying that you "seek permission" from them.
We're saying that it's a great idea to let them in on your goal and your plans, so you can sit together and work out a way to make it happen - for you, and for them.
There might be difficult conversations - ones that leave either of you uncomfortable, but the key to a smooth restart is HAVING those difficult conversations, and arriving at a common ground.
Here are 5 things you MUST discuss with your family before restarting your career
1) Why a career restart is important for YOU - for your identity.
As a woman who is prepared to take the leap of faith and restart after a career break, you've already proved that maintaining your individual identity is important to you.
Don't be thrown off if you're confronted with "Why do you need to go to work? You already have so much to take care of at home!".
Now is the time to discuss, settle, and create a win-win situation.
The financial independence, the much-required boost to your confidence levels, and the unmatched satisfaction that comes with working towards making your dream come true is something that you deserve. It's time they knew about it. It's time they saw the other side of you once again.
Telling them what you feel will also lead them to tell you what they think about your decision and how they think you should handle the transition.
But remember, regardless of the response, always stand your ground. Own it. Let them know you mean it.
Suzy Welch in her article, Returning to Work After Raising Kids? 4 Steps to get Back into the Workforce, elucidates this beautifully.
“You learned how to juggle flaming swords in those years you were home, managing a thousand moving pieces with a baby on your hip.
“Leaving your career wasn’t easy. Starting it again won’t be either. But you’re older and wiser and stronger now. The world awaits your re-entrance, it just doesn’t know it yet.”
2) Handling home and work after a career restart
"But, what about the children?", is another question that will rear its ugly head when you announce your decision to return to work.
Let's be honest here. You have learned at least 10 new skills during your career break while doing the most mundane activities, and you don't even realize it.
From running errands to packing the children to school and the husband to work, from the laundry to dog-walking, from cooking to cleaning, and organizing parties of all kinds, from taking care of the elderly to managing a cranky toddler in a public place...there is nothing you haven't done.
Be proud of it. But, it's now time to share responsibilities.
Did you do the famed "pick-up-and-drop" service for your children every single day? Time to split it up. Work out a transport facility. Or, if you have someone at home who could do it, then even better.
Did you handle your children's homework? Time to bring another family member in the picture to help share the workload, or put them at a trusted tuition facility.
Work out a system that benefits everyone.
Apryl Duncan, in her article, Going Back to Work when the Kids Start School, says:
“Kids get sick. School is out for holidays, parent-teacher conferences and fall and spring breaks.
“Make a plan now for who is going to watch your children when they're out for a day or even a couple of weeks during Christmas break while you're working every day. If you're planning on a family member to do these things, talk with them now to make sure they agree to it before you start the job hunt.”
3) Financial contribution
There was a time, years ago, when you had it all under control-electricity bills, school transportation fees, the maid, AND your own expenses. Then, your career break happened. Your savings held you in good stead, but only for a while.
When you know you’re capable of contributing to household expenditure, even after a hiatus from your full-time job, then it’s time you make it known.
Make your family understand the nuances of being able to fend for the family, and that it’s not just a “man” thing, anymore. Dividing finances creates better opportunities for savings, and that’s something you’d want in the long-run.
One of Michelle Maffei’s 10 Reasons to go Back to Work After Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom is:
“Even after your childcare and commuting expenses, do you come out a significant amount ahead? Going back to work after baby will not only add to your bank account but fulfill your need to contribute to the household finances.”
4) Your job and its significance.
"So, what does she do?"
"Something in IT".
This is a typical response when your family has no clue about what you do and the significance of your role in the larger interest of the company.
But, it's time to make it count.
It's imperative that you discuss your job, your company, and how YOU benefit from this role.
Jennifer Pinarski lets you in on a secret, in her 6 Things no one Tells Moms About Going Back to Work:
"Let everyone know what you want to accomplish with the next step, and ask for introductions to people who might help you accomplish that—then you have people advocating on your behalf.”
When your family sees a personal/holistic growth in your professional journey, they are more likely to be accepting of your career restart rather than citing mere finances as a reason to get back to work.
5) Put your insecurities & fears to rest
Yes, there will be insecurities, fears, and worries, if any, about the restart, but take it as a challenge to overcome them, and move on to the next step.
And the best way to do it is to discuss it with family. If you are open and frank about your apprehensions, chances are your family members will also see your genuine concern to make it work.
Take this piece of advice from Welch, who says:
“You never feel more like a stay-at-home mom than when you decide to go back to work. It doesn’t matter if your hiatus has been three years or 13. You know you’re ready, willing, and able to get back in the game.”
If YOU are restart-ready, then it's time you set the stage for a fantastic transition from may-be to will-be career-woman.