3 top tips for a smooth return to work in 2020
Is 2020 going to be your year? Is it time to return to work? For many people who’ve been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, the prospect of starting all over again will feel both daunting and motivating.
Maybe you’ve taken a break to look after your children, and as lovely as they are, you’re keen to do something for yourself. Or you’ve taken time off to study or start a personal venture and are now considering your next professional step.
So how can you best prepare yourself now before the onset of the silly season?
Here are three essential strategies to support your transition – and help you avoid some personal dilemmas or stresses down the track.
1. Be crystal clear on what you want
This sounds simple, but it’s a crucial first step deserving of your full attention. We often jump straight into the logistics of returning to work, but you shouldn’t worry about the ‘how’ at this stage. Having clarity on what’s important to you will make it much easier to know where to start and how to filter out the right opportunities.
Take some time alone to reflect on your ideal professional scenario. Get specific in terms of what type of work, industries, environment, hours, days and location would be the right fit for you. Do this by taking into account everything you’ve learnt from your career to date and your current needs and interests. If you’re returning to an existing role, get clear on what your perfect week would look like.
2. Prepare the runway
What many people returning to work wish they’d done differently is prepare the runway towards their new job. In other words, make sure you’ve ticked off your essential to-do list before you start your new role. Look at what you need to do in terms of your wellbeing, health and administration. Examples range from improving the amount of sleep you’re getting, to finishing a side project. Or even just getting your house in order. Set yourself up to be at your best when you start working as time will get harder to find as you settle into a new routine.
Once you’ve prepared yourself, it’s then about preparing those around you. Typically, if you’ve been caring for your family for a long time, start by taking a couple of hours off here or there with the support of your community. Get your children used to a routine where you’re not around all the time. This will help ease your guilt or anxiety when you start working. The more you can act now like a person who’s going back to work, the easier it’ll be for everybody. This includes delegating tasks, fostering more independence in your household, and even re-assessing which extra curricular activities you want to keep in 2020.
3. Be at peace with yourself and your abilities
A whole lot of uncertainties, self doubt and questions come with the idea of returning to work. And depending how long you’ve been out of the workforce, you might have lost a sense of your true abilities. You might be wondering how things have changed in the workplace or if your career break may have limited your options. All these anxious thoughts keeping you awake at night need addressing. Not least because they’ll have a negative impact on your confidence at interview stage.
You need to acknowledge that it’s perfectly normal to be apprehensive. And then address the concerns you can control. It might be useful to write a skills inventory list, take a character strength test or speak to people who know your professional experience. Look for the facts or solutions to answer your specific concerns. And then release the rest, because they’re outside of your control. Trust that the right job will be there for you and that you’ll figure the rest out when you need to (as you always do!).
These three return to work strategies will boost your confidence and leave you feeling excited to embark on your next life chapter. You’ll have the physical and mental space available to making it a resounding success. And on top of that, you’ll enjoy your time more with the people who matter to you most as you transition back into the workforce.
Best wishes for 2020!
About Cecile Fery
Cecile Fery believes women don’t have to choose between professional and personal happiness.
She helps women at mid-career who are ready for a shift in their work life. They want to spend their time in a more fulfilling role, and in a way that works with the rest of their lifestyle. Cecile is passionate about helping them being the best version of themselves by leveraging their mindset, personal confidence and their strengths.