It’s frightening…

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If you’re one of the 10% of parents who has been fortunate enough to be at home looking after children while they’re young.  There comes a point when you may feel the need to get back into the workplace.  You want that opportunity to rediscover some of your own talents which you feel have been put on the back burner.  You’ve taken the plunge, filled in application forms, created the CV and have been successful at interview.

For me I had a good job before I had my children, I was quick, efficient and working for Managing Directors, the brain was sharp – I could do things like know my 96 times table, processing wages never phased me, organisation came easy, professional talk, minutes, high typing speed, word processing, training courses – all done with ease, prompt and efficient .  I had a career right in front of me and the promotions were quick.

But then I had my first child.  I knew instantly that for me there would be no going back, I needed to change direction.  I just wanted to be a mum and the best mum I could be.  I didn’t want to miss a minute.  So I left my job and kept my brain active with home study and writing while the baby slept.  I tried a series of little jobs here and there because money was very tight.  They were not career jobs, just jobs here and there to make a bit of income.  Working in a pub, working in a shop, filing for a couple of hours at a dentist, having an Avon round.  A bit of copywriting and a few articles here and there.  Anything that just gave me a little bit of money so that I could do the job I wanted.  To be a mum for as many hours as I could.

But all of the while I was being told.  Surely you must want to work.  You must be bored.  I was never bored – I was happy being mum and as you can tell with my various little jobs that I’d taken on, I always had a side line on the go, then of course illness does stop you in your tracks.  Ten years out of a career, my financial position worsened and there was no choice but to start thinking.  Career.

So I filled out the application.  Went up against hundreds of candidates and managed to blag myself the job.  Back in an office.  Now to say going back into an office environment scared me was an understatement.  I’d got used to my freedom of doing my own thing in my own time.  You see, I found being at home with children was like being your own boss.  You sort the calendar, you sort the deadlines and really you’re in charge and you get used to copious amounts of time on your own, with children for conversation.

In those ten years I changed.  I developed completely different skills.  Life skills as opposed to work skills.  I was used to a loud and busy home.  I developed patience (not all of the time, I’m human) and a lot of silliness.  I enjoyed the fun of being at home and having lots of play time and trips out with children.  Sure we had cooking and cleaning.

The first day back in employment was scary and I know that I wasn’t alone in thinking that.  An aunt of mine had ten years out of the work place, completely without side lines and she went back into work with a stutter that she hadn’t previously had.  Perhaps the side lines helped me out as I hadn’t regressed so badly with that regards.

But knowing that all of a sudden, you have to be up and organised, looking completely presentable for work.  Once you’ve dropped the children at school you have to change heads and become employee is daunting.  The first day at any new job is hard.  The first day at a new job when you’ve had ten years away from the ‘rat race’ is harder.  You’re trying to get used to people who you don’t know, communication has to become more professional than friendly, and in your head you’re comparing yourself to ten years earlier which feels like a life time ago… You wonder how on earth you managed to learn your 96 times tables and communicating with a boss again is frightful.  The pace is fast and everybody knows what they’re doing.  You’re a fully grown woman and you’re daunted at the prospect of the photocopier which in a decade those models have changed.  The way admin is conducted has changed.

Going back into the work place after a long time away.  Can be for many frightening until you settle and get your confidence up.  Getting out of your comfort zone will do it – just ease in and give yourself a bit of time.  And of course after your first month, the pay slip does compensate.  You see your National Insurance number and your take home pay and you realise.  You’re back in the working world with the perks.  Redeveloping the work skills with a  complete different perspective.