Networking is critical for stay-at-home parents
It started with this question in Sue Shellenbarger’s Wall Street Journal Work & Family Mailbox Q and A from an at-home dad wanting advice on returning to work:
“I enjoyed your article on stay-at-home moms returning to
work. Do you see men facing the same issues? After 10 years at home with
my kids, I am beginning to interview for jobs and am preparing for the
transition you describe." R.C., Marietta , Ga.
A few weeks later, her “The Juggle” blog on “Trouble When Dad Returns to the Workforce” took a closer look at whether men face a more difficult time returning to work than women after a career break (we think they do).
Then Shellenbarger ran a "Work & Family" column in the Wall Street Journal called “Daunting Task for Mr. Mom – Get a Job” The title says it all, with Shellenbarger exploring in more depth the experiences of a number of men in the home to work transition.
Soon after the column appeared I got a call from the Boston ABC TV affiliate WCVB TV “The Boston Channel.” They wanted to get a local angle on dads returning to work. One at-home dad, David Hubbard from Stow, MA had a particularly interesting story because his experience disclosing his at-home dad status on his resume yielded positive reactions instead of the negative results reported by the other dads. Dave is back at work at in the same position at the same company he left before he began his career break in 2004. He’s Director of Government Contracts for DSD Laboratories. Following is his “Relaunch Success Story"
“I spent five years at home full time with my child. I organized a group of at home dads who met on a regular basis and was also the Co-Chair of the Stow Area Parents Network during that time. I returned to the exact job I left…read more”
At iRelaunch we run Return to Work Conferences all over the country that have been attended by hundreds of people. Typically, five to ten percent of them are men. We have participated in numerous programs sponsored by employers and universities and have seen the same numbers, most recently at Goldman Sachs’ New Directions program held just a few weeks ago. Because we think at-home dads returning to work still face more of a stigma than their female counterparts, networking, a mainstay of the female relauncher’s career reentry strategy, is even more critical. The men must develop relationships with people who know them in a context other than as a caregiver. A personal recommendation is what will be needed to get the at-home dad in the door to the interview spot. Beyond that, we think the career reentry strategies we present are gender neutral and equally effective for men as for women. Click here for more return to work tools and resources.