Many of us left the work force years ago to raise our kids. We did it because working didn’t offer flexibility, or because the cost of childcare made it impractical and we believed we could just re-enter when it was time.
But if you haven’t stopped working, DON’T. And if you’re facing divorce, don’t wait until your alimony is gone to go back to work. You should always keep a hand in some sort of employment and paycheck, and it’s not too late to do that.
Here’s an interesting statistic: for every year out of the work force, you forfeit 4X your salary every year out. When you leave a job, you don’t just leave the salary, you leave the benefits, the savings plan and any potential investments. And most women are out for an average of 12 years.
Why is the income important? It’s all the “life never knows”. It can be divorce, or it can be the death of a spouse, or aging parents. You have to look beyond the immediate to the long-term benefits of staying in the workforce.
If you’re like us, you probably volunteered in place of work. It counts toward experience but you want to characterize it in business terms. For example, at the top of your LinkedIn Profile, say, “Returning Professional…who has continued work through Non-Profit, or Volunteer”. Highlight the skills on your resume. If you chaired the Book Fair, you write, “managed a team of 12 and generated ROI of 20%....”
Unlike 10 years ago, there are now so many professional part time jobs: telemarking, job shared, freelance, and more. Look for companies with 50 employees or less and keep in mind that 30 hours/week gives you eligibility for benefits.
Another strategy is to do freelance work. If you did even one project every 3-4 months, you’d be miles ahead of someone who stepped away from work entirely for a decade because you maintain your connections and continued to build your resume.
If you want or need flexibility in a role, SAY IT. Don’t pretend you don’t care about it and hope you can change the situation once you get in the door.
When you’re trying to find opportunities, the first and best strategy is networking. Networking is different today than it was years ago. Today you can use tools like LinkedIn, send a simple email or invite or through an email. Use the language, “I have a marketing background. I used to work on CPG accounts… I’d like to known what the skill set is now and what the compensation might be. Can I set a 15-minute call to get your take on it?” Or, “Can you suggest some pointers in an email?”, Or, “Can you recommend anyone in your network that I could talk to?”
Some great resources are:
www.irelaunch.com “Returnships”—internships for returning professionals
www.kathrynsollman.com: flexwork for women alliance—all boutique firms for flexible options
www.apres.com in NY
www.reachhigher.com in Boston
Through the process of our own divorces, Barb Hazelton and Jo Briggs learned more than they ever needed or wanted to know. Through their friendship, shared experiences, and connections through navigating their own divorces, they created this video series. They've been where you are and they hope Single Process can make it easier for you by connecting you to their resources.