I was working in London in the banking industry post-financial crisis when countries were considering leaving the Euro, and corporate debt issuance was at an all-time low. My employer, a Japanese bank, eliminated 33% of the European workforce, including me. I was pregnant with my second child and decided not to look for a new job until after the baby was born. He came early, so I chose to stay at home with him and my older son to give them the best possible start and overcome the challenges that often come with a premature baby.
When my younger son turned two, I moved back to the United States. I knew moving back and staying home with my children was the right decision for their continued development.
While I worked hard to grow and find areas of invigoration and contentment in my own life outside of the corporate workforce, I always knew that I would feel happier and more comfortable working outside the home. I set a benchmark of going back to work when my younger child started school full time so I would have more time and energy to devote to a career.
To prepare for my return, I hired a resume writer and career coach. I attended networking events through the CFA Society of Boston and reached out to women who worked at places I wanted to work. The fact that I had not worked in the U.S. for almost ten years was a difficult challenge to overcome. I leveraged my personal contacts for warm leads, which was a tremendous asset. That’s what led me to reacHIRE.
A well-known career coach who advocates for women’s advancement spoke at a CFA Society event in honor of International Women’s Day. She introduced me to Addie Swartz, CEO of reacHIRE, around the same time a friend (who is a career and leadership coach) also suggested I explore reacHIRE’s training and placement program. All the signs were pointing in the same direction. So, I applied and was selected for the reacHIRE powerUP™ program.
I loved connecting with my reacHIRE cohort. I made lasting friends and supportive contacts. It re-trained me to work in group settings. It also gave me hope that I would find a job, either on my own or through the program. It encouraged me to be open to a broader range of possible jobs, not just seeking to go back to the exact area I left.
Five months later, reacHIRE placed me at Eversource Energy as a financial analyst. It was exactly 2.5 months after my son started kindergarten.
My challenges in re-entering the workforce were very industry specific. I spent my pre-break career in financial services, where profits are a focus. In my new role at Eversource, a regulated utility, our focus is on efficiency and fairness to our customers in setting rates. The way the company earns money is also different than other places I’ve worked in the past. I am lucky to join a team of genuinely nice people, and the schedule and commute are such that I can easily complete my work and take care of my obligations at home (though I certainly have significantly less free time than I had before!)
My advice to women who are attempting to re-enter the workforce is to use your contacts and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people are willing to help you if you only ask.
In the future, I see myself working in a role with growing responsibility and leadership potential. I look forward to acting as a mentor to other women who are looking to return to the workforce after a career break and am hopeful that my story is an example of how re-integrating women into the workforce is a strategic and rewarding experience for potential employers – both male and female.