• Emma Waltham

You Don't Need To Do This Alone

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Rejoining the workforce after a career break can be a daunting challenge. Emma Waltham, Careers after Maternity Expert, explains how investing in maternity coaching will give you the oomph you need to fast track your return to work – and get the job or business you really want

Written by Dr Emma Waltham | Maternity Returners Expert

Don't stress - enjoy the journey

Returning to Work

Are you overwhelmed at the thought of restarting your career? When you’ve taken a break to be a stay-at-home mum, returning to interesting and well-paid work can seem impossible. Typically, we find ourselves grappling with:

  • Low confidence

  • Not appreciating what we have to offer

  • A skills gap or having experience that is out of date

  • Being out of touch with our network

  • A need to work flexibly

  • Childcare challenges

  • Being unsure of what kind of job to apply for

  • Being short of time and energy.

If this sounds like you, then you are certainly not alone! I promise you that none of this is a failing in you, or because of a poor decision you've made. It’s because women who take time out to have children, through no fault of their own, put themselves at a disadvantage. The world of work just isn’t good at accommodating women who have a great education and successful careers behind them, then take time out to be a mum.

"The world of work just isn’t good at accommodating women who have a great education and successful careers behind them, then take time out to be a mum"

In spite of the progress we’ve made getting women into university and into graduate jobs, when professional women have children, vast numbers of them just can’t – or don’t want to – juggle corporate life with taking care of their little people. So they take time out. When they are ready and able to go back, they often find themselves knocking on bolted doors.

On the plus side, flexible and part-time working is on the rise, but good jobs that pay well to new applicants are like gold dust. It’s so much easier to negotiate part time when you are already in-post and have some time in a company under your belt. Rest assured that you are not alone if you find that the compromises you are expected to make when you want to return to work are often huge. We often feel pressured into taking a job we are under qualified for – and a pay cut.

"Flexible and part-time working is on the rise, but good jobs that pay well to new applicants are like gold dust"

What can you do? You can turn this challenge into opportunity. If you use this time wisely and bravely, it’s a rare chance in your life to take a pause, and ask yourself what you want to do. Often women struggle with knowing what type of role to go for, as they feel so out of touch, both with the working landscape and themselves. Being a parent changes you and affects your sense of self, your identity, what drives you.

Which makes this the perfect time to explore who you are now, what your strengths are and to be clear about the kind of work-life blend you want to have. Investing in this now will have very positive long-term implications. It will take you to a place that really isn’t achievable if you just apply for whatever vaguely suitable jobs present themselves and take what comes up.

If you’re clear about what you want, with aspirations that are firmly rooted in your talents and what drives you, you will more easily convince others too. Whether they are employers or potential customers (more and more women are setting up businesses or working freelance), you will have a much more compelling offer.

How Will Coaching Help?

There's a tonne of information out there on how to write a CV or a cover letter. You can find countless top tips on how to do well at interview. There’s a multitude of advice on how to become an entrepreneur or go it alone as a freelancer or a consultant. There are workshops and webinars on offer that are free or just priced to cover the cost of venue hire.

All this can be really useful and helpful. But it can take time to research and distil out what you need, and all this information isn't tailored directly to your individual circumstances.

Career Returner Coach, Emma Waltham

That’s why my clients instead choose to work one-to-one with me. The coaching process will enable you to:

  • Value your unique blend of talents and skills

  • Understand what your priorities are

  • Grow in confidence

  • Gain clarity and a sense of purpose

  • Move boldly forward with resilience.

How does the coaching partnership work? My clients bring commitment, a desire to do the work, and a readiness and enthusiasm for change. I bring respect for your choices, empathy for your situation, and space for you where you know you can explore without being judged or steered. I have no agenda for you. I just want to support and encourage.

We will work in a confidential partnership, where I ask questions and make observations that help guide you through a process where you work things through. I will shine a light on any unfounded assumptions you are making that will hold you back, with a level of challenge you are comfortable with.

One-to-one coaching changes perspective, reveals untapped possibilities, shatters self-limiting beliefs, and is both energising, creative and fun. It reveals your blind spots – often giving rise to your most insightful ‘aha’ moments.

One-to-ones obviously cost more than doing-it-yourself. This is an investment in you that will fast track you back into work that is the best fit for you. It’s quicker and more impactful than struggling on alone – and it's also more fun and energising to work with someone who understands and is on your side. You will find, as your confidence soars, that you will set your sights so much higher for yourself than if you were doing this solo.

So now you have a better idea of what coaching can do for you and how working with me can kick start your career. Interested? It starts with you!

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