If you’re like me, you left your job to stay home with your kids.
With each passing year, you’ve watched as one mom after another returned to work…took on a new job…relaunched.
You’ve enjoyed your career break. But is its time up?
Here’s how you know if you’re ready to go back to work:
#1 You Want to Put Your Education to Use
It took me five grueling years to get my Ph.D. “And for what?” mocked the demeaning voice in my head (as I threw in another load of laundry…administered medication to the dog…hauled the kids to swim lessons).
An internal battle simmers slowly when you begin your career break. It builds with time.
- Are you annoyed with the dust collecting on your framed diploma?
- Have you imagined the accolades that would be yours had you remained in your industry?
If your internal battle is escalating to a rolling boil, now may be the perfect time to put that hard-earned degree back to work.
#2 It’s Time to Get Paid for the Work You Do
I regularly crawled into bed at 2am as President of the Parents Association. My husband – who worked and traveled full-time – openly wondered which of us had the more demanding job.
Only one of us, however, was bringing home a paycheck.
The volunteer work you do at your child’s school or other organizations can be valuable and gratifying. But getting paid feels good, too.
- Do you find yourself questioning the emotional and physical energy you spend on uncompensated work?
- Are you and your family feeling the financial strain of your career break?
Stepping back into the workplace will transform you into a financial contributor.
#3 You Long to Do Something Just for Yourself
My career break enabled me to become an expert on bearded dragon care, electronic volunteer sign-up sheets and SAT prep.
Did I long to master these things? Absolutely not.
Your days shift away from your own aspirations once you step out of the workforce. Passions are too often set on the back burner behind the needs of your children, their school and activities.
- Is the “professional” version of you pushing herself back into your consciousness?
- Do you think about exploring your personal ambitions?
The end of your career break will bring the focus back to you.
#4 Your Kids Are Becoming More Independent
My son passed his driver’s test and his world instantly opened up to him. He could drive himself to school. To tennis. To guitar lessons.
It happened in one day: he didn’t need me as much anymore.
Your kids’ growing independence creates space for your own independence.
- Are you gaining back hours in the day to use as you’d like?
- Are you wondering how you’ll spend your time once your children are grown and flown?
This could be your opportunity to step back into the workplace.
#5 Show Your Kids What is Possible
My mom was one reason why I stayed home with my kids. She was one reason why I built my own business. I watched her do both. She stepped away from work and then had a career sequel.
Your kids are witnesses to all you do. They are taking mental notes.
- Are you ready to show them how to take on new challenges?
- Do you want them to see that parents are equally as valuable at home and at work?
Ending your career break demonstrates what it looks like to step back into the workplace and use a different set of skills.
Choosing to take a break from your career is hard. Deciding when to go back can be even more difficult.
Do one or more of these reasons resonate with you? If so, it may be time for your career sequel.