I am inspired by a post I read that teaches people a great lesson about reaching out and making someone else’s day.
And when I was invited to share my experiences, courtesy Jobsforher mission, to reverse India's female brain drain and bring women BACK TO WORK, I was tempted to check with those in my network to chip in with some opinions related to
- the challenges that are most likely to come up, when a woman wishes to return to a career, after a break?
-and what needs to be done, to make the transition smooth?
Over the past couple of decades, I have been fortunate to have a ringside view of the 'changing expectations' from both sides..the hiring manager and the job aspirants- and must confess I am yet to figure out who is more anxious!
Amongst the crowdsourced thoughts I could collate, three were outstanding.
Radhika had a candid observation:"bias is a habit... it is an underlying belief. the only thing that stands between women successfully returning to a career is Bias! (The way forward) has to be a top-down approach from the board. Senior women ( in age and position) bring to table a wealth of experience and wisdom, they are great team players and committed - and need a dedicated resource to run this initiative as a project."
Dr Susanta Misra shared his insights with a dedicated blog post, that the 'in-between career status' highlighted some of the advantages, and a checklist of 10 points..on what to do, and a handful of 'don'ts'. A #mustread for all of us whose career is a permanent beta.
Geetha, a voluntary Jobsforher ambassador, had a bunch of pointed questions that are often on the top of the mind for most aspirants, that she often is subject to.
1. How do I land a job - with such a long/short career gap?
2. Do I need to get trained in something? If yes, what and from where?
3. My gap seems to be projected more than my experience! How do I convince?
4. They say I am over experienced for a lower profile and prefer the ones without gaps for the one's I am perfectly eligible otherwise! How do I tackle this?
5. Does a change in CV land me the job I am looking for?
6. Are there options for volunteering? Do they pay? Should I take it up while I search for the right job?
7. Do internships (Paid / Unpaid) help? If they do, how?
8. Can I get an option to work from home? It gets tricky when they add, in the same field I have been working!
9. Should I accept an offer where I have to join as a junior / get a lesser pay?
10. I have good experience in one field which does not offer the flexibility or want me to travel extensively for example. Can I look for a change of career instead of compromising on my priorities?
11. Flexibility is a must. But does it come without compromising on the pay or role?
12. Should I take up freelancing? But will it help me in a career that I ultimately want to land?
It helps to understand that these aren't entirely gender-related too. More things have changed in the last 10 yrs..and faster than any 10yr period. Careers ladders are passe'. It resembles a Lattice now-with distributed work locations, virtual colleagues and different time zones.
Well, Seth Godin says "We're not pawns if we choose not to be."
I know I do not have the right answers. Do you?
PS. Please share your thoughts, experiences and ideas on how we can make a better tomorrow!