Cohen and Rabin are two Harvard MBAs who stepped away from high-powered jobs to raise their children, then years later attempted to relaunch their careers. Faced with myriad challenges, the authors wondered if other women experienced the same struggles. Their business backgrounds show in the organized approach they take to guiding self-evaluation and assessing marketability. But they provide a more personal perspective through interviews with more than 100 women, from a broad career and economic spectrum, who remember the difficulties of relaunching their careers after hiatuses from 18 months to 20 years. They encountered less-than-supportive partners and children and skeptical prospective bosses, not to mention their own self-doubts. In a separate section, the authors offer accounts of women who succeeded in their relaunches, including former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Cohen and Rabin applaud a relaunch movement they hope will be so widely recognized that women will not be stigmatized for gaps in their résumés. A helpful and inspirational source for women reentering the workforce.
— Vanessa Bush
(© American Library Association)
Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin is the must-have read for moms returning to the workforce. Back on the Career Track serves as an excellent tool to put you back into the mainstream job market as quickly as possible. While it may appear that this book is specifically geared to women who previously held high-powered jobs, the information and advice can help any woman return to work with confidence.
Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin have written an easy to understand return-to-work guide, their tips and suggestions are sensible and doable. The books tongue-in-cheek introduction, "Our Journey from Playdough to Real Dough," is aptly titled. Cohen and Rabin are capable coaches who address just about any “returning to work”, issues you may have and those you have not thought of. If you are almost sure that you want to go back to work, but unsure how and where to start the process of re-entering the job market, I suggest that you start with this book. The authors help to make the re-entry process easier because they have been there, done that; and willingly share their knowledge.
Each chapter is like a stepping-stone to a successful second career. The contents are divided into two parts, (I) The Seven Steps to Relaunch Success and, (II) The Relaunch Movement and Beyond. By the time you are finished reading Part I, you can start deciding on the color of your new interview suit. The dead-on recommendations in Chapter 4, Update Your Professional and Job Search Skills, and Prepare for the Interview, are worth the price of the book. It is much like having a trusted mentor give you guidance and advice.
Women who where not on the fast track before they became stay-at-home-moms will find Back on the Career Track helpful, Cohen and Rabin offer solid on-target career coaching for everyone. The reference notes and resource section in this career guide is invaluable. Recommended.
Business Week - June 4, 2007
For those who have put "former" in front of their once-triumphant titles, there's BACK ON THE CAREER TRACK: A GUIDE FOR STAY-AT-HOME MOMS WHO WANT TO RETURN TO WORK (Warner Business Books, 297pp., $24.99) Onetime stop-outs and Harvard MBAs Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin offer a tasty, anecdote-filled field guide to getting back in. Cohen and Rabin masterfully reveal the ambivalence felt by women who can afford to drop out yet may be conflicted about doing so. The book offers lessons on how to de-stigmatize résumé gaps and get spouses and kids to buy in to the idea of a return to work. For those who say you can't go back, this book is the definitive rebuttal.
Starred Library Journal review - May 15, 2007
Cohen and Rabin have hit the nail on the head with this thorough, well-written, step-by-step relaunch guide for stay-at-home moms. Both Harvard MBA relaunchers themselves, they explore the role career plays in the quality of life for professional women by going beyond the mere dollars and cents. Readers are guided on their way with the "Relaunch Readiness Quiz" to help identify motivating factors and the "Job Building Block" exercise to explore new career directions. The increasing availability of flexible work options and the newfound interest of employers are presented. The trade-offs and downsides of working motherhood are also honestly explored, as are many inspirational stories of successful relaunchers, such as Sandra Day O'Connor. A listing of resources, recommended reading, and sample résumés are provided. One of only a few books for the millions of professional women/mothers who are not working for pay; highly recommended for public libraries.
— Tracy Mohaidheen, M.L.I.S., West Bloomfield, MI
Work/Family Listserv - June 29, 2007
As an academic, I’m always a little leery about reviewing self-help books. What standards should I apply? On reflection, I think it’s reasonable to ask for honesty, insight, and a dose of wisdom. Fortunately, Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin provide all of that in Back on the Career Track (Business Plus, 2007, at amazon.com). The book is basically designed for women who had careers, opted out to raise children for a period, and are considering relaunching their careers. On the honesty front, I was pleasantly surprised to see them admit that it’s better to keep employed in some capacity rather than opting out entirely (p. 243), a harsh but true message for the audience they’re trying to hit. The first substantive chapter on whether to relaunch is particularly compelling because it relays the sort of stories about really conflicted emotions that women who opt out face when thinking about work. The advice for how to think about reentry also seems sound (I particularly like their advice to start talking to lots of different people about what you’re thinking about, because these women are actually in the process of creating a new story or career, and conversation helps to think things through). And perhaps the strongest selling point of the book is that it details tons and tons of options in terms of different types of careers, different types of employers, and different work arrangements. And it is extremely well-written. Great stuff!
Moderator of the online Work/Family listserv "Workfam"
Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work
By Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin
Warner Business Books $24.99
Former investment banker Carol Fishman Cohen and former finance and human resources professional Vivian Steir Rabin have been there, done that and picked up the T-shirt when it comes to returning to work after a long hiatus. Cohen, a consultant to women's organizations, and Rabin, who runs an executive search firm, detail a seven-step program for getting back on the work track after traveling the mommy track for several years. They provide guidance in updating skills, networking and even getting the family on board with the idea of Mom going back to work.
Let’s face it – any stay-at-home mom thinking about going back to work needs a little support. Which is exactly where Back on the Career Track by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin comes in. Both women - Harvard MBAs – stayed home with their children, only to later turn back to the workforce, successfully relaunching their careers and finding the support and balance they needed. And with this book, they can help you to do the same. With information covering everything from making the decision to return to work and finding the right job options to marketing yourself and making a new job work, this book can help you navigate through the entire process of getting back into the workforce. The book contains practical advice and tips, answers to questions you may have, success stories to inspire you, and priceless information you’ll need about everything from preparing for a job interview to what employers and colleges are doing to help. This is a must-read before filling out any job applications, and it will become your go-to resource each step of the way. Back on the Career Track is not only practical, it’s constructive and encouraging as well and, when it comes down to it, downright necessary for any mom thinking of returning to work.
Suite 101 - July 9, 2007
A Guide to Returning to Work
Expert advice on how to relaunch your career after years as a stay-at-home mom.
... authors Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin speak to the more than 2 million college-educated stay-at-home moms in the United States and provide step-by-step advice. However, the book isn’t just a binky and blanket to soothe the anxieties of the full-time mother, nor is it the same old argument that staying home with children is better than working outside the home... Click here to read the rest of the review.
I wish someone would have given me this book a few years ago when I started back to work after being a full-time Mom. My experience was extremely difficult and essentially I had to learn everything the hard way. I fought with myself about going back to work. I felt guilty about leaving the kids. I consistently chose jobs that didn’t suit my life realities and then ended up doing Houdini acts just to keep everything together. It took me a long time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life, where I wanted to do it, and how to balance family and work. Okay, so I’m still working on the last one.
Back on the Career Track looks at going back to work after being a stay-at-home Mom from a variety of different perspectives. Readers are encouraged to ask themselves those really hard questions like do you really want to go back to work, what are your reasons for going back to work, do you have the time to go back to work, and how supportive is your family about the venture?
With these questions out of the way, the reader then looks to what kind of work they want to do. The shear amount of options can be somewhat overwhelming. Do they want to return to the job that they had before they had children or do they want to start a new career? Do they want to work full time, part time, flex hours, shift work, per project, etc?
With those important issues out of the road, the real problems begin. How do you make a resume that looks professional when you have a ten year gap? How do you start networking again? How do you regain your skills? How do you deal with supervisors that are the same age as your kids? Check out Back on the Career Track - it will reduce the anxiety and give you a lot of great advice.
MyShelf.com - June 15, 2007
Do you want to return to work after staying home to care for the kids? Are you looking to re-enter your previous profession? Or do you want to explore a new field? For many stay-at-home moms, the desire to return to work leads to a deluge of questions, such as finding family-friendly companies, child-care issues, updating job skills, channeling family support and handling the new job. Back on the Career Track provides assessment tools and answers to these important concerns.
Authors Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin ask readers to honestly analyze their reasons for a Relaunch, their term for this new stage in a woman's life. Why do you want to return to work? Have you been home longer than you thought you'd be when you quit your job to stay home with the baby? Do you miss the accomplishments from your career? The reasons for returning to work can be numerous, but start your job search by knowing what you will gain.
Consider how a job – and your time away from home – will affect your children and your spouse. This question is not asked to tug at mother's guilt; career moms will need to prepare a new family schedule. What changes are necessary for you to work outside the home? The new schedule may mean you are not available when your kids arrive home from school or when they start homework. Are you ready to turn over the kids' care, as well as some of the household's activities, to other people? Some mothers realize they do not want to lose the flexibility of their current stay-at-home schedule. Other moms report surprise in losing support from their previous at-home mom friendships once they return to their careers.
Do you think you're ready to return to the workforce? Take the Relaunch Readiness Quiz, which consists of “Appetite for Work,” “Child and Elder Care Responsibilities” and “Spousal/Other Family Support." Back on the Career Track helps you Relaunch in seven detailed steps. The second half of the book highlights inspirational Relaunchers, the Relaunch movement and its future, like working part time, extended leave and job sharing.
Cohen and Rabin have turned their successful Relaunches into a guide that is rich in solid advice along with inspirational examples of famous Relaunchers like Sandra Day O'Connor. Helpful resources, sample resumes, and recommended books round out the guide. Back on the Career Track is easy to read yet includes an in-depth amount of information. Readers will surely find areas or questions that hadn't occurred to them when they thought of returning to work. Grab highlighters and sticky notes as you delve into this book. Back on the Career Track will be an indispensable resource for your successful transition from home to work.