Going back to work after having children can be a daunting prospect. Caroline Mayne, AFF’s Employment, Training, Allowances & Money Specialist, has some guidance…

 

MOST employees who return to work after a significant period of time away are women who have taken a career break to raise a family.

Lack of opportunities, loss of confidence, childcare costs and limited childcare options can make returning to work quite scary. Don’t be put off though – there’s plenty of advice out there to help you.

Keep up your confidence
You may feel that you have lost touch with the world of work and that your skills and experience have deserted you. Recognise and embrace your new parental talents – after all, running a home “Army style” combines management, budgeting and diplomacy!

Stay in touch
Try not to fall behind while away from work. Volunteering keeps your skills in use and gives you wider experience. Join a parent-teacher association or become a trustee for a charity, demonstrating commitment and time management.

Up-to-date CV
It’s important to think from an employer’s perspective when articulating that your parental skills are directly applicable to work. Elaborate on your attributes from the rest of your working life and education. Describing how you have kept up to speed with issues in your field will help. Join social networking groups to stay in touch with former colleagues and industry experts.

When to return to work
It all depends on your finances and needs. “I planned to head back to work months after my daughter was born but couldn’t bear to when the time came,” said one Army spouse. “I was actually grateful to the Army for posting us out Germany at the final hour and delaying that decision for me!”

Work/life balance
You might not want to go back to your pre-children 14-hour-a-day job and your career choice could also change.

Another Army spouse told us: “I realised early on that the career-orientated, pre-baby me wouldn’t be able to sustain the pace and time required.”

A part-time job can help you to ease your way back in, fine-tune your skills and get used to the working world again without working below your skill set.

Getting support
There are plenty of websites offering great advice about how to achieve a successful return to employment whether you wish to work for someone or set up your own business. It can take some time, so try not to be disappointed if you don’t find a job immediately.

The most important thing is to be positive. Have a look at our useful links on page 22 of the digital magazine or contact me at etam@aff.org.uk 

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