Kendell Brown is a member of the iRelaunch Career Coaching team and our resident expert on resume-writing serivces for relaunchers. Founder of Ascension Careers and a relauncher herself, She works with clients with to ascertain and achieve their career goals via strategic planning, positioning and branding assessments, identifying transferrable skills and providing counsel for working through challenging work situations.
Are you ready to relaunch? The list below is derived from countless discussions with relaunching clients and the considerations they worked through when deciding if going back to work was the right choice. There are numerous factors to weigh when making this decision, many of which are not exclusive to relaunchers. What I’ve identified below are considerations that specifically reflect concerns and challenges for relaunchers.
I’m emotionally ready to work.
If you’ve started considering and investigating returning to work, I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea that we often have to pay to work. Perhaps it’s a daycare provider, an eldercare companion or a dog walker. Whatever it is - your return to work calculations include the costs of these and likely other services. But have you considered the emotional toll that working can take?
Consider this scenario - several years ago, I worked with a client who decided to give up on her return to work plans after several months of job searching. She reached out to me recently and admitted that all those years ago, she had unconsciously sabotaged several interviews. After starting to look for a job, she realized that her mother was getting older, and she wanted more time to spend with her and nurture their relationship. Consequently, she came to the conclusion that emotionally she wasn’t ready to devote the energy necessary to a job because she wanted to spend that energy on her mom. The client has since lost her mother but was so thankful for the additional years she had to know her mother as an adult. My client is a poignant reminder that there are both tangible and intangible costs of relaunching.
I’m ready for the travails of work.
What does working entail? Reporting to someone. Being accountable to a team. Delivering against goals and expectations. Add to that - office politics, endless meetings and pointless emails.
Don’t forget sometimes work is just plain boring – remember putting off expense reports and subordinate reviews? No matter how jazzed you are to contribute and make an impact, those less sexy aspects of working still exist. Are you prepared to give 110% to the good, the not so good and the downright mundane details of working? Honestly, I’ve never had a client think through what working will be like on a day-to-day and day-in, day-out basis and then choose to stay home. However, those that take off the rose-colored glasses, tend to do a better job of finding something where they truly fit. Because they looked for a job that both delivered the work they wanted and a workplace in which they fit. The workplace fit ended up being critical for remaining enthused for those times when the work itself didn’t fully cut it.
I’m ready to quit my current “job.”
No, I’m not confused – I know most of you reading this don’t have a job. Let me explain. A significant portion of my clients decide to return to work after their kids are in high school or older. The thinking is that the kids are at a stage that allows mom more free time. While this is true, if my clients are any indication, the kids become sufficient a lot sooner than high school. Most of my clients that fall in this category are involved in at least one volunteer activity to which they devote a significant amount of time. These clients face a real struggle when they recognize that going back to work means giving up or at least significantly cutting back on the (volunteer) work that they are passionately committed to. Some clients continue their volunteer work during non-work hours, and others decide to step back. Either way, they have to reconcile what returning to work means for the passions they have nurtured often over several years.
I’m ready because I’m supposed to work.
Many of my clients, want to return to work because they are smart, capable and well-educated. Or they decide to return to work because they don’t like the looks they get when they say they aren’t working. Whatever the driver, a lot of them feel like they should be working. What I’ve learned after working with a number of these “should” clients, is that should – whether internally or externally prompted - is an insufficient motivator. Getting and keeping a job are too difficult to do simply because you should.
I have to work, therefore I’m ready to work.
Going back to work often isn’t a decision. For many of us, going back
to work is thrust upon us to due to financial circumstances. Even when
you have no choice but to return to work, the aforementioned
considerations (except for the last one) are still pertinent and deserve
When finances drive your return to work, there’s undoubtedly a heightened level of stress. Of my clients that have to return to work, those that were able to not solely focus on the financial side, but could also see other benefits to working – being a role model, re-developing a professional identity, setting and achieving new goals, etc. - were typically able to manage the crisis better than those that couldn’t.
There’s no right or wrong place to land for each of these
considerations. There’s no minimum number of “yes” responses that will
indicate your “return-to-work readiness.” What I’m offering here are
issues and thoughts that I recommend you think through when determining
if and when you relaunch.