FOCUS. It’s almost an oxymoron when you’re a mom… yet I still pursue it every day. And now that I’m back to working regularly, I seek it even more. Re-entering the workforce after being home for a few years (or more than a few years) isn’t easy. It takes FOCUS.
A few weeks ago I was lucky to be a part of the first annual Momfair… a conference here in LA tailored to providing insight, info and ideas to moms trying to return to the workforce. Fabulous working moms that I’ve come to know and be motivated by spearheaded and contributed to this massive effort. Moms like Laura Gerson of Momangeles, Samantha Ettus of gave (and got) advice and support. Moms like Lynn Perkins provided perspective about babysitter dilemmas, Cheryl Petran WOWED me with her one word of advice to brand new moms and Diane Prince Johnston explained how and why direct sales opportunities are perfect for moms re-entering the workforce.
So what did I do? I shared what I learned about re-entering the workforce after kids at my new gig (Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family”). Talk about being nervous that your boss is gonna find out all of your tricks…
If you missed my segment, here are the quickie highlights:
Get back on the radar: Set aside 15 minutes each day to hop online and use Linked In, Facebook, Twitter to reconnect with former colleagues and seek new contacts in your field. Send a friendly email to forge a connection and network.
Don’t discount your ‘transferable skills.’ Organization, communication, written skills… Just because you worked in a particular field before babies, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to return to that same field. Reputable direct sales opportunities exist that are perfect for moms who want to work at home (notice I bolded REPUTABLE… not ‘pyramid schemes’… be wary and educated when researching these companies). Many reputable direct sales companies offer work-at-home employment and require a startup fee of a few hundred bucks, but essentially you are your own boss. Winnie & Kat and Stella & Dot are fabulous examples of direct sales companies that provide fun and stylish work-from-home options… these companies were also started by moms.
Do not go on and on (and on) about your kids’ schedules, schools and activities. It’s ok to say you took time off to spend with your kids, but make it clear that you are READY to return your energies to work.
Schedule an interview on a day where you’re not running around crazy between football practice and dance lessons. Your head needs to be clear and you need to be relaxed and ON TIME. I even say to have a family member or babysitter cover your child responsibilities for the entire day of your interview so that you can FOCUS. And remember: A potential employer is not legally able to ask you directly about childcare arrangements. If they do? Your answer here: “Thank you for your concern. Yes, I have child care covered and am very excited to put my energy back into work.” Another option? “Thanks for asking… I really do like to keep my home life at home so that it doesn’t bleed into my work atmosphere.” BAM. Just be polite (but also ask yourself: Do you really want to work for a company that is asking you an illegal question in the interview? Hm.)
Take advantage of continuing education and/or online resources to help you refresh your skillset. Some schools and colleges offer ‘brush up’ courses to alumni. Also check out the best online resources available: Working Mother, Ask A Manager.
And when you get that job… know that you might have a day like the one you will watch below. (Luckily, our boss at work was game for the fabulous designer and new mom Orly Shani to bring her little nugget this one day. Speaking for moms everywhere: THANK YOU ‘HOME & FAMILY!’)
HAVE YOU RETURNED TO THE WORKFORCE AFTER KIDS? HOW DID YOU DO IT?