So you’ve decided you’re ready to head back to work after having a bub….you may have had 6 months or 6 years off – either way, it’s important to plan for this and to be realistic.
I believe a good job search starts with a well thought out plan or brief…so the first thing you need to lock in is childcare. It’s really important you do this BEFORE the job search – as we need you to be ready and available to work when you start interviewing. Having done this dance myself I know that childcare can take weeks and in some cases months to find, so I encourage you to start this process early. I’d also recommend that you choose care closest to home and be open to the days of the week – the more flexible you can be the faster it will be for you to secure care.
Once you’ve secured a spot you can start the search, however, I highly recommend that you don’t start working the same week as your little one/s start childcare. Give you and your family at least 3 weeks to get settled (if you can financially) before starting your new job.
Be realistic with the days/hours you can manage now that you’re a parent – seek advice from industry recruiters as to how feasible it will be to secure such a role. Get an idea of the time it will take for the search and determine how long you can afford to be paying for childcare without working. Take the time to plan for this and it will ease the pressure both financially and emotionally.
When interviewing ask your future employers to tell you how they provide a family friendly workplace. Ask about how other employees work reduced hours or days around family commitments. Ask lots of questions to ensure they are the right company for you.
Getting good at the juggle
The first week of childcare can be toughest on Mum and Dad…while the second week your little one may catch on that this is the new “norm” and decide to be quite unsettled that week (so no need to add the pressure of your first week into the mix). Once the little one is settled be prepared for the dreaded childcare bugs…so you may have to rely if you can on a nanny agency, friends or relatives a little, so have a think about your support network and get them ‘prepared’.
Get a freezer full of quick go-to meals sorted in advance – as by doing this you minimise not only your need to cook but shop too….as that stop to Woollies between work and childcare pick up may just not be doable…or at least with a toddler/baby in tow can be quite the thing to test your level of patience.
Be kind to yourself and know that it will take you all at least 6 weeks to get into the flow. Be open and honest with your employer. Ask for support from friends and family.
And most importantly believe in yourself – quite often a few months away from the workplace can leave parents wondering if “they’ve still got what it takes” and I assure you that you do. Some of my best hires internally here at iknowho have been working parents – they’re committed, grateful and super organised…and have a level of resilience that wasn’t their pre-kids (sleep deprivation will do that).