Barbara: reacHIRE Graduate

3 min read

Barbara | A Community of Peers

Pre-break: Senior Engineer, Environmental Consulting
Post-break: Quality Engineer, Medical Devices, Urology Dept.
Length of Career Break: 14 years

Barbara and her family playing golf

Barbara and her family playing golf

Barbara at the 2017 Heartwalk

Barbara at the 2017 Heartwalk

After working as a full-time engineering consultant for several years, I took a break from the workforce when my children were very young. It was a subtle transition; working full time, then progressing to part time and eventually, deciding to invest all my energy in the most important job to me: being a mother. I didn’t want to balance raising my kids while tending to the demands of a full time job.

While on my career break, I volunteered in the public schools my children attended. I worked on a school building committee, was a member of the PTO and boosters committee, and worked in the school library. Once my children grew older and became more self-reliant, I decided it was time I took the necessary initiatives to head back into the corporate world.

It was hard to know what I wanted when I first decided to relaunch my career; I had been looking into engineering jobs while first working as a substitute teacher, and decided I still only wanted something on a part-time basis. On my own, the job search process was difficult. I didn’t have a lot of networking capabilities since I had been out for so long, and traditional job boards didn’t get me any leads because I lacked the personal connection. I felt that my career break had put me at a real disadvantage, despite my credentials.

At one point, my husband showed me an article he found in the Boston Globe about reacHIRE. He suggested this might be a good program for me. I researched the company, and it piqued my interest; it was a concrete way to actually turn my goal into a reality. Following that, I attended an informational event in Boston with a friend. I was immediately sold on the program and Addie’s vision for helping women gain the necessary skills and confidence to relaunch their careers and partnering with companies that believed in her mission. I believed I was a well-suited candidate, so I applied and was soon accepted into the training process.

“One of the most valuable take-a-ways of reacHIRE was the other women in my cohort; they served as a wonderful support group because we all shared the same fears and were working toward the same goals.”

For me, the training involved a lot of self-reflection. I was able to use the skills they taught me to learn about myself and what I was looking for in terms of returning to the workforce. reacHIRE taught us strategies like how to write a resume without highlighting our career break, how to identify our strengths and summarize them to prospective employers, and how to strengthen our interview skills. Along with this expertise, one of the most valuable take-a-ways of reacHIRE was the other women in my cohort; they served as a wonderful support group because we all shared the same fears and were working toward the same goals. Building off each others’ stamina and encouraging each other to meet our goals was a huge benefit. All of this helped to build my confidence and enhance my drive back into the corporate world.

Soon after completing the training, I was offered an interview with Boston Scientific as an engineer in the Endoscopy department. I was grateful to have this opportunity, but was worried that I wouldn’t fit the role of this position. I studied mechanical engineering in school, but I had no recent experience and never worked with medical devices. After interviewing, this position wasn’t offered to me, but the talent acquisition person at Boston Scientific kept looking for other opportunities within the company. A few months later, she reached out to me about another engineering position, this time in the Urology department. She set up a phone interview and when I first got on the phone with the female hiring manager, we clicked. She also had kids, so she understood the struggle of balancing work and family and she reassured me that my lack of medical device experience didn’t concern her. They were looking to hire engineers with the right mindset, problem solving skills, and ability to work cooperatively in a team; they were willing to train me in the business of medical devices and specifically quality.

Following my phone interview and several office interviews, I was offered a six-month contract as a quality engineer in the Urology and Women’s Health department. At the end of that term, I was offered the permanent part-time position. I am really happy in my current role at Boston Scientific and have no desire to move elsewhere! I feel like I am constantly learning and being challenged and love the corporate culture. My manager and my coworkers make me feel like a valued member of the team. reacHIRE’s partnership with Boston Scientific got me through the door and the reacHIRE training prepared me for the interview process. I am grateful to both companies, their partnership, and my experience with them.