A Guide For Parents Starting Their Return to the Working World
Not all parents have a job to return to after having children, and going back to work after full time parenting for some time can be daunting.
Parents can feel a huge mix of emotions; the excitement of working and spending time with adults again, the guilt associated with doing something for themselves, the pain of going back to work earlier than they want to, the stress of juggling the workloads both in a job and in the home… and some of these emotions don’t ever seem to go away.
In addition, many parents can suffer a crisis of confidence when they have been away from work for a long period of time, and worry a lot about their job performance. To add to this, if their children are still little, most parents also start to worry and become anxious about how their children are coping without them.
As a working parent, your emotional state is about as stable as a wonky donkey, but you have to give the impression that you’ve got-it-together, which just adds to your stress levels.
The key to handling the stress and overwhelming emotions that accompany the return to work as a parent is to find ways to love what you do, why you do it and know who you are when you do it.
Guilt can be particularly prevalent when we are returning to the working world. By finding the right job for you means:
- – no longer missing out on much needed enthusiasm and energy that comes with finding work highly meaningful and engaging
- – allaying feelings of doubt and guilt from being at work instead of with your kids
- – your children will grow up learning that work doesn’t have to be a place of resentment; instead it can be somewhere to grow, inspire and achieve!
Looking For The Right Job
To start their search for a job they can enjoy whilst they’re away from their little ones, parents should try answering a series of out-of-the-box, yet thought-provoking questions:
- – What subject could you read 500 books about without getting bored?
- – What could you do for five years straight without getting paid?
- – What would you spend your time doing if you had complete financial abundance to do anything?
- – What hobbies did you enjoy doing before life got in the way?
- – Imagine that you are very old. What do you wish you had spent the last 20 to 30 years doing?
- – What type of role would you be excited to tell your friends and family about?
- – What projects (paid, volunteer or school-oriented) have you most enjoyed working on and why?
Don’t worry if they can’t answer all of these questions; the idea is to get them thinking about possibilities they had not considered before, or help them to reignite a passion that was already there for jobs they have perhaps held in the past.
Returning to the workforce after having children is also the perfect time to reconnect with one’s strengths. Knowing and developing our character strengths can significantly impact our approach to life, our relationships, our career and personal growth.
One of the best online tools available is the free survey by the VIA Institute, which takes about 15 minutes to complete and outlines your top strengths to help you learn more about yourself.
Knowing their personality strengths and core values will help a parent look for the sort of work that will inspire and motivate them, or help them get back to what’s really important.
So, with some idea of what sort of jobs may suit them, drive them, connect with them and make them happy, here are our 3 key tips to assist a parent in finding a job that they can enjoy whilst they’re away from their little ones:
Learn Something New
New jobs that have never been heard of are being created every day. To stay relevant, it’s important that we now all see ourselves as life-time learners.
A great way to expand on job options and break back into the workforce is to explore further education and vocational training. By refreshing our skills and/or retraining in a new field, we’re increasing our chances of finding employment that plays to our strengths, adding to our profile of skills and more importantly, boosting our confidence!
When we help others, both you and the person you help get a release of oxytocin. Not only does it give us the warm and fuzzies, but oxytocin boosts our immune systems and enables us to be better problem solvers.
Find a charity or a cause that means something to them and get them involved. They’ll get to meet more people who care about the same things they do, and gain great new skills and experience at the same time.
Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and expand our network beyond our existing circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Get to know new people and ask what they do as well. Parents might end up finding a new opportunity they never thought about before, or meeting someone who can give them a hand on the way to where they want to go.
Acknowledge Your New Skills
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world; it’s unpaid, often undervalued and sometimes taken completely for granted. But whilst there is no formal training for becoming a parent, there have been tonnes of on-the-job learning. Being at home with kids may have taught creativity, stress management, problem-solving, multi-tasking and time management… like no other job they’ve ever had.
This last tip is especially important when heading back into the workforce after a long break, because it is these skills that fill-in that gap on a parent’s resume. See below for a perfect (and humourous) example!
If you need any help with assisting parents with getting back into work, or would like to know more about our parent support programs, then please give us a call today on 0402 294 953. We’d love the opportunity to help!