Like many before me (and not just the ladies), I got to that age and stage in mid-life where my big career and meaningful family life were at a cross-roads. It was time to make some changes.
Fast forward a year later, and I'm standing in the ocean with friend and colleague, mid week on a sunny day. I’ve had a kale smoothie, walked to school with my son and exercised. All the things I said I desperately wanted to do and had terrible FOMO about when I was a busy executive. I was now at the place I had hoped to be and it was great. Most of the time.
But standing in the ocean I said my friend but mostly myself, “you know, I quite miss the big-important-full-time-career me”. There it was. I really missed my career, but what did a new career look like? And how to begin? I knew I didn’t want the old experience, at least not for now. I wanted to use my skills and experience, I wanted to be of service to others and I wanted to make a difference.
And so began the journey to “relaunch” myself. A journey that many of us undertake, sometimes because we want to, sometimes because we have to. Exciting yes, but returning to work after a break can be hard and daunting because many people question their competence. Even your sense of self can diminish over time.
A great TED Talk by Carol Fishman Cohen, “How to get back to work after a career break” makes some great points about “relaunchers”… we are older, wiser, have great work experience, a mature approach and we are still excited about working because we are wanting to get back to work.
Early this year I was asked to speak at a Woman’s Executive Breakfast and tell my (career) story.
I realised relaunching myself, was in fact something I’d done it many times, from wife to mother, from manager of others to leader of managers, from one country to another in various role and leadership positions. It's not always easy, and it takes support.
Here are the five things I’ve learnt about my career change:
- Be clear on what makes you, you and what you have to offer
- Understand what you want and why you want it – have at least 3 three reasons
- Ask lots of people, lots of questions. Everyone has something to offer
- Re-skilling is critical but doesn’t need to be scary. Know what you need to know
- Get a coach or someone to help you with the transition. Change is always easier with help