How Women Can Make a Successful Return to the Workplace, with Farai Chideya

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want and make a difference in life.

I’m Mac Prichard, founder and publisher of Mac’s List. On today’s bonus episode, we’re sharing exclusive content from Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s our new book that was published February 1, 2017. For 15 years at Mac’s List, we’ve helped people find meaningful, well-paying work in Portland, Oregon, one of the country’s most competitive job markets.

Now, we put all of our best job hunting advice in one new book that can help you no matter where you live. Land Your Dream Job Anywhere also includes advice from many of the national career experts who have appeared on our podcast. Today, we’re sharing one of these features exclusively with you, our podcast listeners.

Here is Farai Chideya, author of The Episodic Career, reading his contribution “How Women Can Make a Successful Return to the Workplace.”

Farai Chideya:

Women are much more likely than men to leave the workforce to raise children or assist elderly family members. Unfortunately, after a prolonged time off, it’s not easy to on-ramp back into full employment. There simply is not much infrastructure to help women step back into the workforce. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared before you take your hiatus.

The most important thing is to record all the work you’ve done prior to your time off. You have to be your own archivist. You have to document your own career, and you need your supervisors to sign off and verify your accomplishments. It’s a mistake to think you can go back to someone, years later, and expect them to remember everything you did.

Before taking extended family leave, sit down with your supervisor. Ask him or her to itemize the work you’ve done over the past year, as well as your professional skill sets. If you’re not planning to leave the company permanently, ask that the document be added to your personnel file. Also be sure to keep a copy for yourself just in case your plans change in the future. When you are ready to return to work, this document will help validate your accomplishments and abilities with your future employer.

Outside of documentation, the best thing you can do is network. Before you leave your job, reach out to your own network and give them a short status update. You don’t need to go into any uncomfortable specifics. Just let them know you’re taking some extended time off, and that you plan on returning in the future. The purpose here is to keep your network informed of your status and your intent.

When you’re planning to return to work, reach out to your network again and ask about any possible openings. Also think about how you can access your network’s networks. Indeed, second- and third-degree contacts are sometimes the most fruitful relationships when it comes to uncovering new opportunities. Even relatively weak connections can open doors for you.

Women are much more likely than men to leave the workforce to raise children or assist elderly family members. Unfortunately, after a prolonged time off, it’s not easy to return to work.

There simply is not much infrastructure to help women onramp back into the workforce. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared before you take your hiatus.

On this bonus episode, Farai Chideya, author of The Episodic Career: How to Thrive and Work in the Age of Disruption, explains what women should to before they take time off to lay the foundation for their eventual return to the workforce.

Her suggestions include:

  • Document all the work you have done. You’re less likely to remember everything if you wait until you’re ready to return to work.
  • Sit down with your current supervisor and ask them to itemize your accomplishments and highlight your skill sets.
  • Ask for the document to be added to your personal file and keep a copy for yourself.
  • Call your network to let them know you are taking time off and you plan on returning.

You can find more useful job search insight in Land Your Dream Job Anywhere, now available on Amazon.