After a long absence from the professional world, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. During the time away, your priorities and preferences may have changed dramatically. You might not even be aware of your new disposition until you land a job in the industry that you left. People are always changing and it’s important to really evaluate what you want out of a job when you decide to go back to work. This doesn’t require a “soul search”, but trying to figure out how your professional and personal needs have shifted during your break from the working world will be one of the most useful things that you can do before getting back to it.
For some more tips about getting back on the horse, here’s “7 Keys to Rejoining the Workforce After a Long Break.” This article covers the workforce re-entry process of Carol Cohen, a financial analyst who’s high powered firm went under while she was on maternity leave. Luckily for Carol, her husband was more than able to provide for their family, allowing Carol to leave the working world for 11 years to look after their kids.
Now, Carol still had some pretty nice professional connections after her absence and landed another high powered job without too much fuss. This proved to be a double edged sword, however, as Carol discovered that she no longer enjoyed this kind of work. Even for those of us with more typical professional connections and resources, it’s important to remember the importance of enjoying what you do for a living. If you hated your job before your break, what makes you think that you’ll like it this time? While this article doesn’t have much practical advice for the long term unemployed, one of the best chunks of wisdom that I got were to present the absence on your terms to a prospective employer. This means that you explain what you’ve been doing in your time off: community service, consultant work, travel etc. When you appear pro-active while out of work, then the gap in your employment history might not count against you as much when you start looking for work again.