Taking a break from work is a choice a lot of women make at some point in their life. Whether it’s time off for maternity leave, care-giving or relocation, the career growth that you once envisioned for yourself, comes to a temporary halt.
Fast forward a bit and you are now ready to roll again. Not right now, maybe in the next few months or a year. But everything has moved ahead and you feel that you need to do a catch up. While you re-start your career, here are 7 useful tips to keep yourself in the loop and leverage your time to its full potential.
Read Read Read – Book your free time
Sneaking in time to read up on news events, current affairs, latest trends and staying in touch with developments in your field will keep you motivated and confident. Use Apps like Flipboard to select the topics you would like to get news about. Flipboard trolls the web to give you curated news on your chosen subjects and allows you to save articles in custom folders. Apps like Texture, for a small monthly fee, give you access to the best magazines across all categories on your device, so you can easily switch between parenting magazines to the latest issue of Fortune or Time.
For on the go reading ease, download the Kindle app on your phone.
Networking is Marketing
We live in pretty good times – if you have the motivation, connecting is just a click away. Along with maintaining an ongoing list of past, current or future contacts that you can draw upon when the need arises, look for Meetups (an online social networking portal) in your chosen field and use that as an excuse to dress up, step out and connect with like minded professionals. You can even host your own meet-up, if searching for one does not satisfy your requirements.
While your care-giving responsibilities may take up a large chunk of your time, try to keep your professional self alive too. Create a LinkedIn profile (if you don’t already have one) and start connecting with past colleagues and classmates. Become part of professional groups in your area of expertise or online Women’s Networking Platforms like Maroon Oak and try and contribute on relevant topics. Reach out and send ideas to former bosses, if you have one that can help them boost sales, productivity or general company image. A good idea or deed seldom goes unappreciated.
Add Value – Acquire a new skill
It makes good sense to occasionally scan various job sites to understand the job profile requirements that an employer currently demands. Today’s job world is extremely dynamic and changes happen constantly. Sometimes it could be a new skill that could prepare you for when you are ready. With abundance of online teaching sites, why not learn something new. Coursera, General Assembly, Lynda, OneMonth, Udacity, KhanAcademy, CodeAcademy are some of the popular online teaching sites for academic, practical or technical skills.
Volunteer- Feel Good, Do Good, Make Good
Along with the emotional benefits of volunteering, it helps you make new contacts and friends, increases your relationship skills and provides you a greater sense of purpose.
Besides Volunteermatch, you can also look at LinkedIn’s new volunteer network to find a cause that fits into your schedule and makes the most of your talents. Alternately, you could offer your pro-bono services to non-profits through organizations like the Taproot Foundation.
Cultivate your Focus
As a caregiver, one becomes a multi-tasker juggling multiple responsibilities. But does that corrode your focus over time? During pregnancy and later, women often feel they suffer from ‘The Mummy Brain’ or maternal absentmindedness. One helpful fix is adding fun brain training or memory boosting activities to your schedule. Mind puzzles, video games, game apps, memory and attention boosting sites like Lumosity, Zentangle art or even the current fad of coloring books- there is a wealth of material to choose from that can add a fun break to your daily juggle.
Consolidate your professional career
Take this time off to figure out your professional goals. Assess your work experience until now and if need be, pivot to the part or feature of work that you most enjoyed or entirely move down a new career path. In either case, you can then focus on acquiring the new skills or contacts that you may need for when you are ready to get back up professionally.
Once you understand your direction, always set small achievable time lines and pat yourself for every little step forward despite handling a full time ‘at-home’ job. Enjoy your career break and embrace this new multi faceted you with confidence!
You can’t use up creativity. The more you create, the more you have.
A Designer and Entrepreneur, Aditi graduated from a top design school and subsequently started her own design and merchandising business. Co-founder at Maroon Oak, she has over 17 years of business experience with Two Dotts, her design consulting company and an Etsy store which serves as an outlet for her gifts and patented product designs.
A mother to a teen and a tween, she enjoys running, dancing and raising her newest baby, a Bichon named Miltie.
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