I’m Mari Bailey, Operations Manager at iRelaunch. I started working here this past summer after a 14 ½ year career break and am the newest (by just one week!) member of the team.
Last year, when I started to think about returning to work, I realized that I wasn’t sure what type of work I wanted to do. It’s not that I had never thought about it before…I had just never come up with an answer. So, I started looking around on the web for some inspiration and found the iRelaunch website. I was so glad to find such a helpful resource! I immediately purchased the Return to Work Roadmap and dove right in. I will never forget that morning – I was in a coffee shop and spent the next few hours glued to my chair reading the materials, listening to episodes of the 3, 2, 1 iRelaunch podcast, and taking tons of notes. I went home feeling inspired and full of ideas to move forward with my job search.
One piece of advice that resonated with me was to take the time to figure out what I really wanted to do. This meant that I had to honestly reflect on the types of work that I did and didn’t enjoy doing. (I was fortunate to have the time to do this and took advantage of the opportunity.)
Over the next few months, I dedicated time to doing more research, talking to people, and thinking about the type of work I enjoy doing. During my career break, I had developed a strong interest in coding as a hobby -- could that possibly turn into a new career? (I thought about it and decided no.) Did I have deep, subject matter expertise in a particular area that I could/wanted to use in my next job? (Well, no again.) What I came to realize is that the type of activities I gravitated to involved project management and process improvement…and my work and volunteer experience all reflected that.
Another thing that was clear to me was that in this second phase of my career, I wanted to work somewhere with a mission that was meaningful to me. What that mission exactly was, I didn’t know.
BUT, when I saw the iRelaunch job posting, I knew immediately that this job would fulfill the two things that I was looking for in a job and did not hesitate to apply. This was a job that I was excited about and I loved the idea of being able to work for a company that had done so much to help me and continues to help others.
My return to work has been exciting and challenging (and yes, I must confess that I’m STILL adjusting to being back to work full time). I am grateful to work with such an incredibly talented, supportive, and fun team; I have learned so much from everyone already.
I also just attended my first iRelaunch (Virtual) Return to Work Conference, which was fantastic. I look forward to when I can attend one of these conferences in person and meet my team outside of Zoom calls!
Thanks for reading and best of luck to you on your relaunch journey!