I've been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years. Now that my children are getting a little older, I’ve found I can handle a job and a home. I've been on our school's executive board as a fundraising chair for two years. (The first year, we raised $96,000; the next year we raised $1 million.) I've also been in charge of various school functions and on many planning committees. How can I use that experience to transition back into work mode? — Alison
Creating a new career after 10 years at home raising your family is a big leap. Kudos for your willingness to explore this next big step. It sounds like you’ve had some great success in the roles you’ve taken on since leaving the corporate world. Reflect on that success as you consider your next steps. The sky’s the limit!
When considering what we want to create next, we often default back to what’s familiar, when in fact there are so many more options we’ve likely left unexplored. Consider that even if you return to corporate, you’re not going “back” — you’re a whole new woman now, who likely has different interests, needs and desires than the you of a decade ago.
Looking forward, here are two simple questions that can help provide some clarity on your next step.
1. How will it feel? Instead of taking a job that checks off all the right boxes in hopes that you’re happy to be there each day, start with considering your happiness.
In an absolutely ideal scenario, how would you like to feel at work on busy days? How would you like to feel when you’re getting ready in the morning? How would you like to feel when navigating family and household responsibilities with work responsibilities? Begin aligning yourself with a career you’ll love by making your happiness your North Star. “Work mode” should feel great.
2. What’s your ideal? Your career is part of your life, so when looking at what you want for your career, it’s important to look at what you want for your whole life. When you think of yourself as the CEO of your life, you’re empowered to create a vision for your future based on your ideals.
Take some time to create your ideal vision for your life as a whole, including your career. How much money would you like to earn? How would you like your schedule to look? How much vacation time would you like? Would you like to work from home or an office and how many days per week? Would you like to explore employment or entrepreneurship? How would you like to navigate your self-care and family time with your work responsibilities? What kind of tasks would you like to spend your days doing?
When we endeavor to take any big step like this, it’s helpful to think first of what we truly want to create, rather than default to what we think we can have. We are so much more creative and powerful than we often give ourselves credit for.
Once you’re clear on what you want, reach out to your friends and professional contacts and share what you’re looking for. You may find that your dream career is ready for you, too.