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How long acceptable to be out of work with young children?

(7 Posts)
Fiveleaves Wed 05-Feb-14 20:36:51

Due to the end of a contract at 4 months pregnant and unlikelihood of another, it looks like I may be out of work for around 2 years. Obviously in permanent roles the mat leave is disguised and isn't mentioned but I can't do that in this case.

As a manager / employer, how long a break from work would you deem acceptable to re-enter work at the same level? I don't want to hurry back but don't want to damage my career.

Speccymummy Wed 05-Feb-14 23:04:02

I think it really depends on the work you do. The worry is that your knowledge might get out of date. But, I wouldn't have thought that would be too much of a risk in two years in many fields, providing you are well established at your current role / level. Is there anything you could do to keep your skills/knowledge up to date? Networking events, profession relevant websites or publications, or odd pieces of work here and there for example.

Fiveleaves Thu 06-Feb-14 08:23:10

Thanks speccymummy. I will continue to be a trustee and do voluntary work I have been doing since last summer alongside my paid work (which recently ended) as I can do much of that from home. I think there will be the odd thing I can do related to my career but will just stall in terms of progression and I feel I may have to re-enter at a much lower level.

I think the worry is that voluntary work that is often advised for people to 'keep their hand in' is looked down on by employers. These days it's as competitive as paid work! I had to have a formal interview due to the level of responsibility! I manage people and projects.

I feel that I'm trying to make plans to keep in the loop but don't want it to be in vain. I will have 2 under 2 (one of whom will be a newborn) by the summer and don't want to get stressed about this...

2014ThisIsMyYear Sun 09-Feb-14 23:03:09

If you write your CV well, explaining what you contributed and gained in each role, as long as it is relevant to the post you are applying for, then I personally don't give a stuff about whether you have been in paid or voluntary employment. I recently took on a temp who had been out of work for 2 years, caring for an elderly relative. After 6 weeks she found a proper job, in her chosen role. Temping may not be an option in your field, of course.
Also, I recently had to read over 100 CVs for one job, and believe me, those who can match their CV/personal statement/covering letter to the requirements of the job stand out. It's an under-rated skill and will certainly increase your chances of an interview.

Good luck.

2014ThisIsMyYear Sun 09-Feb-14 23:05:07

Oh, and I recall one who explained that while she was not in paid employment but bringing up her children, she had developed useful skills such as budgeting, negotiating, planning, time management etc. Good on her. Better than those who dismiss that period of time, or try to hide it.

JeanSeberg Mon 10-Feb-14 10:15:54

Over a 21- year career and excluding maternity leave, I've got 3 gaps on my CV:

- 9 months backpacking at the age of 26
- 2 lots of time out post-redundancy, around 6 monthe each time, at the ages of 34 and 38

And I'm about to leave my current job without another one to go to.

It's never been a problem for me, each time I've gone onto bigger and better things.

Fiveleaves Tue 11-Feb-14 21:57:35

Thanks 2014 and Jean. Good to know. Temping fortunately is an option for me so if I can re-enter the workplace in 2 years that way then that would be great. I also think bringing up children for a few years is a job in itself but just worry that in the current work climate that it doesn't cut it with employers.

Good luck Jean

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