Few careers are totally linear these days. Many people — particularly parents — take time out of the workforce at some point or another. No doubt many others have contemplated it over this last year as the pandemic has affected school and childcare schedules. So if you’ve taken time out and want to get back in, or if you’re thinking of taking time out, what should you be thinking about?
To help us answer these questions, Sarah and I welcomed Curran Schiefelbein to Best of Both Worlds this week. Curran is a software engineer who has worked full time and part time, and has stayed home at various points in her career as she’s been raising two children, and as she cared for her late husband after he became seriously ill. She re-entered the workforce a few years ago, and in this episode she talks about how her family has navigated these changes.
One really important take-away from Curran and from other listeners who’ve sent in tips: If you’re re-entering the workforce, you can give yourself time to find the right fit. There is no real difference between a 5 year career break and a 5.5 year career break, but the extra six months of search time might allow you to figure out what you’d really want to do. In Curran’s case, she and her late husband had made some smart decisions that meant she didn’t have to re-enter the workforce immediately as a new widow (however, she points out, she wanted the structure of work!).
Please give the episode a listen, and if you have tips from returning to work after a break, we’d love to hear them!