Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

What You Can Learn About Yourself as a Relauncher

Positive takeaways from this stage of life

Transitions can be difficult as they involve change. But those same transitions are growth opportunities where we can learn more about ourselves and focus on the potential we have for growth. Just as there may have been challenges when you made the transition out of the workforce, there will most likely be challenges as you make the transition back. But here’s some good news: 

Your network is larger than you think. 

All those playdates you coordinated, committees you volunteer for and sporting events you attended will now come in handy. You’ve probably met more people during your break than you can count. These same people who helped run a fundraiser or picked up your child after practice are part of the network that can help you connect with a future employer. You just need to let them know by talking about your return to the workforce. 

Technology isn’t that hard (or scary)

If you’ve survived the terrible twos and negotiated your way through the teen years, how hard can learning new technology truly be? Talk to people who are in jobs or the industry you’re interested in. Find out what software they use. Make a plan to either learn that technology or get back up to speed if you’ve previously used it. There are many ways to do this – online and in-person courses are one route, but also consider watching YouTube videos and strategically volunteering for roles that allow you to get hands on experience.

You’re not “old” you’re “seasoned”

Who’s going to hire a 50-year-old soccer mom who hasn’t worked in an office in 15 years, isn’t on Twitter and doesn’t know Excel? The answer is no one, if that’s your elevator pitch!

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, being “old” is in the mind of the individual. When my mom was in her early 80s, she would tell me that she was going to “visit the old people." After hearing this multiple times, I finally asked, “Just how old are these “old” people?” My takeaway from this exchange was not about the age of the people she was visiting, but that even in her early 80s, my mom didn’t see herself as old.  

While there is no denying that ageism exists, if you see yourself as old, then others will also. If you see yourself as an experienced profession who is curious, likes learning new things and is energetic, others will as well.

You’d be a great asset to any organization

So often we focus on what we don’t have, can’t do, or don’t know versus really looking at our life experience to date and figuring out how to value it. 

Do a self-assessment. Just like you made a list of the “highlights/accomplishments” for each job when you created a resume or did the self-appraisal portion of an annual performance review, do the same analysis for your career break. What are you most proud of? What skills have you built/acquired? Don’t be modest. If you’re having difficulty developing this list, ask the others who worked on those PTA projects, nonprofit committees or worked with you as you navigated a family member’s health issue for some insights. 

Employers hire people for the strengths, skills and experience they have and how they will be able to contribute, not what they don’t have. So ... all the more reason to focus on the positives and to the extent that you need skills you don’t currently possess, develop and execute a plan to acquire those skills.

Mary Beth Barrett-Newman is President of 2nd Career Consulting, Mary Beth spent almost 30 years in the corporate world and brings her experience, expertise and enthusiasm as she coaches clients on their journey to a new position.

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