Friday, October 15, 2010

GUEST BLOG POST: Busting Myths about Moms Returning to the Workplace by Leslie Evans Thorne

Lately, I’ve had the chance to hear from moms who are considering a return to the workplace. Some are excited, others are apprehensive, and most are a little of both. As I listen to them, -- their questions, fears, and concerns -- I realize that several themes keep repeating themselves.

Here are some questions I hear…with my answers:

What salary can I expect to earn after being out of the workforce for years?

The implication here is that your skills are rusty and won’t be worth as much as before. Rubbish. Put that one right out of your head. I never bought into this line of thinking, and I’m encouraging you not to do it either. Look, if you used to be an accountant, you are still an accountant. Your value hasn’t changed. If you used to be able to do PR, then you can still do PR. Just because you haven’t used the skills in a while doesn’t mean that they have degraded. You just need a little practice! You must have confidence in yourself and in your skills and convey that to a prospective buyer.

Will I have to take a paycut?

No. It’s possible that you can expect a pay raise. The only reason you might have to take a pay cut is that the economy has changed, it’s an employer’s market, and some pay ranges have shifted. So, the answer really depends on the market. It does not depend on your being a mom or being out of the workforce for a period of time.

It’s important to know what you are worth BEFORE you approach the market. Once you decide what type of work you want to do, you will need to find out the pay scale for that job (or project) in your locale. Check job search websites, google payscales, and make sure that you are asking the question in your networking meetings with people.

Remember that your value in the marketplace has a lot to do with how your perceive yourself. Do you believe that what you do will provide value to a company? It’s up to you to create a value proposition for yourself…and then sell it to others.

Will it be more difficult for me to find a job as a mom?

Again, it depends on how you see yourself.

If you think that you have been cocooned from the workplace, focused on being a mom, and not using traditional work skills, you might have difficulty. I hear moms say all the time that they worry about how long they have been “out” of the workplace.

I see it differently. Moms are in a crash course and learn skills that are incredibly valuable in the marketplace. Moms learn how to plan, be organized, have great time management skills. They learn to manage the family’s calendar with play dates, school trips, lessons, and everything else that comes with being a mom. They develop more intuitive emotional intelligence skills. Reflect on all those things you’ve learned by being a mom – and think about how they could translate into a work environment.

And, here’s another plug for the value of moms in the workplace, one that I believe in my heart. Moms learn quickly how to shift plans when something unexpected comes up, which happens all the time, right? Moms are required to be flexible and adaptable, which are two of the most desirable attributes in a world of uncertainty and unprecedented change. The world has changed since you were in the workplace. It’s no longer predictable and repetitive. So, as a mom, you have developed two of the most important skills of this new century – and you are offering that to a potential employer. That’s valuable. Help them to see the importance of what you have to offer, especially given the changing context of the world of work. And, then sell it to them, unabashedly. You are valuable. You have a lot to offer. Make the case to the employer and stand by it.

Being a mom is AN ADVANTAGE in the marketplace. Believe it. And, learn how to sell the skills you’ve developed in one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

Are you a mom looking to re-enter the workforce? Would you like to learn how to profit from your passions? & Reinvention coach Leslie Evans Thorne are offering a FREE Teleseminar for Moms Looking to Re-invent and Re-Enter the Workforce. Sign up today at 10/19, 12noon EST. Learn 7 Smart Strategies. Free recording for all who register, so you don’t need to be on the call to get Leslie’s wise advice.

Leslie Evans Thorne reinvented her career three times – from U.S. Senate Legislative Assistant to International Trade Specialist for a NYC bank, to Corporate Trainer and Consultant – before deciding she wanted to help others reinvent. She has since spent over 15 years empowering many to unleash their potential, leverage talents and find meaningful and rewarding work. Whatever a person's professional aspiration, even if they feel stuck and uncertain, Thorne helps them think out of the box. She works with people of all backgrounds in varied industries, from CEOs to mailroom clerks, and is writing a book about the workplace of the future. She has appeared on CNN, The Employment Channel, and in Ladies Home

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