Women take time away from their business for a variety of reasons. You may have stayed at home to raise your children, to take care of an older relative, or to address an issue with your physical or mental health. Going back to work after a long absence may be more difficult than you anticipated. You are forced to face new challenges at a time when you don’t feel as confident as you once did. Here are some tips that will help you hit the ground running and overcome any obstacles that might get in your way:
It is normal to lose some confidence after an absence from the business world.
Realize that the game has changed. If you are expecting everything to be the same, then you are finished before you even start. Your industry has undoubtedly changed since you have been away. Read every related journal article and industry publication that you can find. Attend seminars and consider retraining. By bringing yourself up to date on the current trends in your industry, you begin to close the gap that was created by your absence.
Realize that you have changed. Have you developed any new skills that may be beneficial to your business? Do you think that your values and interests have changed? Do you want to do the same type of work that you were doing before or would you rather try something new? What is your motivation for returning to work? Do you have a long-term goal or are you just trying to make ends meet? Before deciding on a particular path, make sure that it is consistent with both your goals and your values.
Deal with your feelings about returning to work. It is normal to lose some confidence after an absence from the business world. However, you need to address those feelings before you pursue new opportunities. How do you tell your story to other people? Be direct, don’t apologize, and make sure that you let them know about the knowledge and experience you gained while you were away.
Establish your network. Even if you haven’t been actively working, there is a good chance that you have still been building valuable connections. Make a list of your contacts and talk to them to see if they are able to assist you with your business. It is also a good idea for you to update your social media profiles. It is a lot easier to build up momentum when you’re working with other people.
Going back to work can be intimidating. Things that you used to do effortlessly may feel scary or even unmanageable. The key is to make a plan, line up support, and jump back into it. Be confident in the fact that you have the same knowledge and skills that you did before; you just need to use your expertise in a way that works for who you are right now.