This is our very own blog, where you can find out what's going on in the run-up to WorkFest. We'll update you on all the behind the scenes activity at WorkFest HQ and share our latest news and exciting announcements.
25/03/14 - Stop Thinking & Start Doing: Returning to Work after a Long Break
When I was on a career break after my first career in strategy/marketing, I decided that I wanted a career change. I knew that I wanted to do something that was more flexible than my old role, but still satisfying, and spent many hours dreaming and chatting with friends about what this might be. One month a friend and I got excited about importing baby equipment from Australia … then a few months later I was inspired to set up a family-focused travel agency … then it was a flexible after-school childcare business ... then retraining as a psychologist. I was never short of ideas but the interesting thing was that the more options I thought of, and the more I talked about them and researched them endlessly on the internet, the more problems I could see and the further I became from actually doing any of them.
What got me out of this going-nowhere cycle was signing up for an Introduction to Psychology evening class and actually finding a few psychologists to talk to about what they did. Only then did I feel sure that this was what I wanted to do and that it wasn’t just another career fantasy.
The Overthinking Trap
I’ve now worked with many women considering what to do after a career break and many of them fall into this overthinking trap. We get fooled that we can think ourselves into a decision when what we really need to do is to start taking practical actions. And I don’t mean firing off your CV when you’re not yet sure what you want to do – it’s about finding ways to try out your options before deciding where you want to commit. Professor Herminia Ibarra in her career change book ‘Working Identity’ calls this a ‘test & learn’ approach. She warns that waiting to act until you know what to do next can keep you stuck: “Doing comes first, knowing second”.
Some Ways to ‘Test & Learn’
• If you’re wondering whether to go back to your old company/field: Get back in touch with old colleagues for an initial exploratory chat; ask about small projects or freelance work; take a refresher course.
• If you’re not sure if you want to do something new: Find people who are doing the job - go to an industry event or look for friends of friends – and talk to them about their roles; take a short course; do related voluntary work or find/create an internship.
• And if you’re thinking of setting up a business, find some entrepreneurs to talk to or go to a start-up workshop like Start Up Saturday.
• For more ideas see our return-to-work success stories.
As I learnt, it is more doing not more thinking that will get you clearer on the route you want to take.
Come along to our workshops at Workfest 2014 for more advice, including practical return-to-work planning and ways to tackle your fears, worries and guilt about going back to work.
By Julianne Miles & Katerina Gould, Women Returners (www.womenreturners.com)
12/06/13 - "NOTHING kills a career like walking away from it - or so we're always told."
Julianne Miles has also written an interesting and motivational blog about, the steps women should take to help them get back into work.
Keep an eye on this space for more updates on the progress of WorkFest 2014. And if you're keen to join us, register now.