I decided to step out of the workforce when I was pregnant with my third child. I wanted to focus on my family and enjoy time at home with my children while they were growing up. Having a career and independence was always extremely important, but spending time with my children, caring for them and raising them was invaluable. I was able to connect with them every day, help with homework, volunteer at school, meet their classmates, lead their Girl Scout troops, and coach their teams. We shared so many first experiences together. I was very happy, especially during the summertime when all of the kids were home. It was the right decision for me.
My plan was to return to work when my youngest started elementary school full time. I wanted to show my girls the importance of education and that they are capable of any profession they choose. For me, that profession was in the medical device field.
Three years later, when my youngest daughter entered pre-school, I began to look at job postings. I met with former coworkers and friends, applied to open positions at my former company and my friends’ companies. I spent time researching new products and procedures relevant to my field to get up to date. I fully expected to receive responses from the companies I contacted — I didn’t realize a five-year career break would be such an obstacle. I interviewed several times, which was great practice, but each time an internal applicant was selected.
One of the companies I contacted was Boston Scientific. During a phone interview, the Boston Scientific recruiter asked if I would be interested in the reacHIRE program. The program was a way for women with a career break to re-enter the workforce, specifically through a five-to-six month contract followed by a potential full-time offer. I applied to the program, interviewed and was hired to a contract position in project management the same month. I had always been interested in project management, but did not have direct experience. The five month returnship allowed Boston Scientific to take a chance on me in this new role.
Of course, there were some challenges. It was hard to be at work when I knew the kids were home in the summer. I wanted to keep having fun with them, but felt I needed to accelerate into my new role, absorb and apply new information as quickly as I could to achieve the full-time opportunity. I didn’t take days off when I wanted to, or should have. I worried daily about being offered employment and what I would do next if I wasn’t, even though my performance feedback was good. I struggled with the feeling the contract was a “trial” to be judged. It felt like I had put myself back on the career market and my entire self esteem was wrapped into that.
In late December, Boston Scientific extended a full-time offer for me to continue as a Project Manager. It was the greatest gift.
Working with reacHIRE helped opened the door to a whole new career for me. It was the first place where my career break was welcomed and embraced. reacHIRE helped prepare me to re-enter the workforce and meet a lot of great women in my similar situation.
My advice to other women is to take the time to think about what you want to do with your career and know the position level or salary you want before you apply. Do not let someone else tell you what you are worth, and go for it! I’m so glad I did.