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Your Relaunch “Back to School Plan”

You are likely already in the full swing of “Back to School”– buying school supplies, new clothes, preparing for activities, lunches, and piano practice. But where do YOU fit into the busyness? Let’s make sure that you have not forgotten to add yourself to the top of the Back to School list.

By Valerie Cherneksi

Valerie Cherneski is a certified executive coach, facilitator and speaker who uses her background in law and psychology to motivate change and development. As the Founder of Cherneski Coaching, Valerie focuses her practice on highly driven lawyers and corporate professionals, and assists them on a variety of issues to streamline their lives and build further upon their success. Valerie serves clients across the United States and Canada and is a frequent contributor to the iRelaunch blog and "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch" podcast series.

September is the perfect time of year to start your relaunch or pick up where you left off when school ended.  Employers, colleagues, friends and contacts are heading back to work after summer holidays and budgets are being finalized for next year.  Although so much of our traditional notion of work has changed, and we are still living in uncertain times, you are best to get moving on your search now so that you can take your time, stay in control, and adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

So how do you get started? If it feels easier said than done, the best way to ensure success come September is to make a plan now.  A plan that accounts for your Family, your Boundaries, your Schedule and your Physical Health will help remove any perceived or real obstacles in your way.


Relaunching your career is a significant step for you, but also for your family.  Even if they are 100% on board, the transition for them isn’t always easy.  There are two ways you can start preparing your family:  involve them in your relaunch AND behave as if you are already back at work. 

The more involved your family feels (no matter what your family constellation!), the easier this will be on everyone. Include all of them in your relaunch – young children can ‘help’ you set up your workspace, pick out office supplies, and clothes you will wear. Older children can brainstorm with you, help you with your technology, and give you feedback on your messaging and meeting prep.  

Also, think about what life will look like at your house when you go back to work. Will you hire extra help? Who will prepare dinners and do the errands you normally do? How will you handle remote school, if that is a possibility (or reality)? Does your family need to do more work around the house? What is the back up plan if a child gets sick?

Getting the family on board as soon as possible helps with the emotional and practical hurdles of going back to work.

Set Boundaries

It is crucial to set clear boundaries for yourself as you prepare to relaunch. Boundaries are the line between where you begin and others end.  You may not be used to saying ‘no’ to others and you may not be used to creating a space for yourself that is devoted to work.  The absence of boundaries at this time can sabotage you.  Take some time over the next few days to get clear on what you are saying ‘yes’ to and what you are saying ‘no’ to this fall, outside of your relaunch work. 

Relaunching your career will take hours each week – plan for at least 10-20 hours (and even more at times) and ensure that you are clear on where those hours are coming from in your life.

Set a Schedule

Once you are clear on your boundaries, you are ready to set a schedule.  In the same way that you schedule in a volunteer commitment or a soccer practice, your relaunch work must be scheduled. Utilize the hours in the day when you have the most energy.  If you don’t know what to do on Day 1, refer to iRelaunch’s Back to Work Roadmap and make a list of items to tackle.  Choose one item each day, and you will see the momentum build.  

If you find yourself getting de-railed, ask yourself what you would do in the situation if you were at work – this is especially important given that many jobs may be remote, or a hybrid of remote and in-person.  Treating your job search like a job dramatically increases your chances of success and also prepares you for the real thing.

Stay Fit

Relaunching your career is very exciting! It will require a lot of energy and you may feel out of practice and nervous when it comes to meetings, interviews, profile drafting, research and then actually working!  Being physically fit helps you be emotionally fit, it builds your confidence and releases endorphins to keep positive.  Also, if you have a regular fitness routine going, you are more likely to keep at it once you are back at work – a critical ingredient in work/life happiness!

With a plan in place, you are going to be ready, with the rest of your family, to hit the ground running this fall. AND, with boundaries, a schedule and your family cheering you on, you may even enjoy the process along the way!

Don't relaunch alone!

Join our growing relauncher communities on Facebook and LinkedIn. For more great guidance on your relaunch and updates on when return to work programs are accepting applications, events for relaunchers and more, be sure to sign up for our Return to Work Report and follow us on social media to stay informed!

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