So what next? - Returning to work after a career break

One of the keys to happiness is finding work you love. So often I hear my coaching clients say ‘I’ll do anything as long as it fits around the kids’. This is a common mistake Mums make – they prioritise other people and then feel deeply unfulfilled and dissatisfied when they realise they are doing something that undervalues their skills and experience.

So how do you find work you love? Here are four key questions to ask before making any decisions around your career direction:

What are you motivated by?

Understanding what motivates you are work is one of the best places to start. Many people struggle to articulate this and come up with answers such as financial reward and security, but other examples of motivators include ‘expertise’, ‘meaning’, ‘autonomy’ or ‘recognition’.

What skills you are good at and enjoy using?

I made a significant career change after ten years in Sales when I realised that the skills I had become very competent at weren’t those that came naturally to me or that I enjoyed using. When you find a role that plays to your natural strengths it is much more enjoyable and less tiring! I use a skills cards exercise to help Mums immediately understand the full spectrum of skills they have to offer an employer.

What are your main interests and passions?

Your interests and passions can often give some great clues as to potential career options to explore. For example, one of my recent clients – a primary school teacher - has combined her passion for yoga and developing children to start up yoga classes for kids.

What are your lifestyle requirements?

What hours do you want to work? How far are you willing to commute? What salary do you need to earn? Be really specific so that you can evaluate opportunities with clear parameters of what you can commit to.

As Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, said “You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”


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