Entering the Workforce After a Long Absence

Nancy Anderson
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Entering the workforce after a long absence may seem like a daunting proposition, especially since you faced an entirely different routine that had nothing to do with clocking in from 9 to 5. Leaving the workforce meant your skills development took a break too. Discover three tips to help you get back into work mode after an extended time away from the office.

1. Determine What Drives You

Your motivation changes over time, and that's probably what happened when you took a long absence from work. You thought about your life, what you want to do in the future, where your life is going, where you were a few months ago, and how it all fits together. Questioning your professional life is totally normal, especially since you needed a breath of fresh air for a while.

Ask yourself some pertinent questions before entering the workforce again:

* What activities do you enjoy?
* What do you miss about your job?
* Why do you feel relieved about not going to work?
* Did anything spark your interests while you were out of the workforce?

The point of these questions is to find out what you liked and disliked about your job. This helps you narrow your focus and find your passion for your next move after a long absence.

2. Regain Your Mojo

Companies hired you for a specific skill set in the past, and your next employer should do the same. Make a list of your professional accomplishments, top-level skills and highest achievements. These form the basis of your resume. If you have trouble remembering some achievements, talk to your colleagues, former co-workers and contacts to see what they say about your skills. You might not know your own worth, and your peers can help you shut down any negative self-talk.

Upon researching your chosen field and position, you may discover you need to refresh your skills following a long absence. Don't be afraid to take a class, advance your technical skills or take a leadership course. Research what computer software you need to learn and which colleges or online classes will teach you how to use these programs and expand your network in the process. Your teachers and classmates can help you expand your career horizons while you learn new skills.

3. Get Working

Sometimes, you just have to dive back into the workforce even if it's not your long-term career choice. Think about volunteering for an organization, working a temp job, freelancing or just starting out part time when you want to ease back into things. As you get back into a job after a long absence, revisit your list of motivations to see how your new job fits into that paradigm. If you enjoy what you're doing, then you're on the right track.

Getting back into the workforce following a long absence doesn't have to be quick or abrupt. If you can, take your time and sort things out. In the end, you may be happier and readier than ever to come back to work. What are your strategies for diving back into work after taking off a long time?

Photo courtesy of Sheree Kozel-LA HA at Flickr.com


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ana Rose Quinones-Gutierrez - thanks for your comment. It's funny how our perspectives change when we are away from the day to day work environment and have a little bit of time to breathe. If you can do it, go for it! All the best!

  • Ana Rosa Quinones-Gutierrez
    Ana Rosa Quinones-Gutierrez

    This is a good read, I am also in the position where I relocated to Florida from New York, decided to take some time off and have been for almost 5 months now and not sure If I want to go back to the profressional legal field again, would love to work for myself and start my own business.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Maria Smith thanks for your comment. So true. Take your time, if you can. Check out the job. Do your due diligence before you submit your application for a position. Why spend your time applying for jobs that are not what you want? You would end up the same way - unable to breathe. In addition, if you do find a position and get called in for an interview, pay attention to the surroundings and the employees. Pay attention to how you feel when you are meeting with the hiring manager or meeting some of the employees. If the vibe feels right, then it might be the position for you. I have gone on interviews where the atmosphere was toxic. I have even cut interviews short because what's the use of continuing? I wish you all the best on your next adventure.

  • Maria Smith
    Maria Smith

    Nancy thank you for your words of wisdom. I"m at that point right now. I had to leave my last job. Because i just felt like i just couldn't breathe. But know i would like too. Start again and yes you are so right. About taking it slow. I know the money is not going to fall from the sky. Eventually I will find a job. But I want to be sure and feel confortable at the same time.

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