Best of Both Worlds podcast: Returning to work after a break

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!

2 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Returning to work after a break

  1. With 4 kids over 3 maternity leaves, I have gotten better and better at preparing for the inevitable return. I have 12 weeks away from work and the last 2 weeks like to schedule a hair appointment, possibly a professional makeup makeover (where I know I’ll buy some to refresh my supply and look) plus I listen to a professional book to get back in the mindset. While this is time away from baby, it forces some trial runs with nanny/solo dad etc which will have to become norm soon enough so it’s a bit of a forcing function.
    I also continually try and remind myself that the late night feeds are snuggle opportunities and it all goes so fast! Never wish it away.

    The days are long but the years are lightning
    They’re bright and they will never strike again
    -From the song Bring My Flowers Now

    1. @Erin – thanks for the comment! It’s a wise idea to do some test runs so the first time away from baby isn’t that first day back at work. It can be stressful enough, so no need to add to it!

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