Reentering the workforce

mm Bill Pace

There are a ton of situations where people of all ages and stages find themselves re-entering the workforce.

    • Parents who stopped working to care for their children
    • Children who took time off to care for their parents
    • Retirees who decide they want to start working again
    • Experienced adults who went back to school to get a degree or certificate
    • Veterans seeking civilian work upon leaving the military
    • People who stopped working due to a serious illness or disability
    • And many more

While these folks are in very different circumstances, there is typically a shared bond: despite their significant past work experience, most don’t know how to think about or approach career reentry. Consequently, the process can take far longer and, more importantly, result in worse outcomes than it should.

We encounter lots of people who characterize their career re-entry processes as haphazard, frustrating, unguided, or just flat out a waste of time. Why?

In an article for Forbes titled 7 Keys to Rejoining the Workforce After a Long Break, Susan Adams hits the nail on the head. Quoting one of her interviewees: “I skipped one of the most important steps in my career re-entry strategy. You have to make sure you do a career assessment.”

While doing a career assessment can mean a bunch of different things to different people, it starts with doing the thinking, questioning, and reflecting about what really matters to you. People change, and this is especially true for those who take a prolonged break from their careers. The aspects that made your previous job satisfying likely no longer apply. Understanding what will fulfill you now and in the future is key to a successful reentry.

Bill Pace is Managing Director of ClearlyNext, a guided online career program that helps people of all backgrounds and incomes figure out what to do next. Read more >