2 min read
Pamela | Bridge the Gap
Pre-break: Human Resource Specialist
Post-break: Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion
Length of Career Break: 20 years
I left the workforce after my second son was born, and my company at the time dissolved. I relished being at home with my little ones, and soon had two more. Taking care of four kids ages five and under became my full-time job. As my children grew, I volunteered at their schools. I was co-tennis coach of the girls high school team and had the opportunity to emphasize both skills and sportsmanship. In addition, I was an avid participant in special events, proctoring tests and advocating the school to prospective students and parents, in particular about diversity.
Several years ago, I realized that my children were getting older and began thinking about what I would do once they didn’t need me around so much. I considered getting a job, but wondered if I had lost my marketable skills. When my youngest child was getting ready for college, I decided the time was right for me to make a transition as well. I had been freelance writing on a part-time basis for the past few years, but I would now have much more time to refocus on a full-time career. Still, I was a little nervous because it had been so long since I was in a corporate environment, and I didn’t know if companies would be open to hiring someone with a long career break.
“It can feel scary to make the change back into the workforce. But if it’s something you want, you deserve the chance to spend time and energy on your own development. I couldn’t have done it without the help of reacHIRE.”
After some unsuccessful attempts to find a job on my own, I learned about reacHIRE from one of my husband’s former co-workers. She had participated in the reacHIRE program after her career break and highly recommended it. The program sounded like an ideal way to bridge the gap back into corporate life.
When I was accepted into the reacHIRE program, I hoped to re-enter the workforce working for an organization that had a higher purpose in addition to product sales. With the help of reacHIRE’s training and credentials, I was hired by Fidelity Technology as Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion. It was a wonderful job where I had the opportunity to do meaningful and challenging work. I was with Fidelity for 16 months, until my husband accepted a new job opportunity in Chicago, and we moved.
One of reacHIRE’s greatest benefits, I found, is its connection with companies that value the experience of women who have taken a career break. Because I knew my “interim” experience was appreciated and useful, I felt comfortable and welcomed at Fidelity. Another benefit reacHIRE provided was a sense of connection, in the form of the cohort of women who went through the program with me. We gave each other vital support and encouragement throughout the entire process. Whether it was sharing ideas of how to help the kids through the transition, or whether or not you need to wear stockings to work, we had each other’s back!
It can feel scary to make the change back into the workforce. But if it’s something you want, you deserve the chance to spend time and energy on your own development. Although I’ve moved to a new city, I’m taking with me the lessons and confidence I’ve gained since I started reacHIRE. I’m relaunching my freelance writing business, but now have more focus, more experience and much more certainty that I will continue to be successful. I couldn’t have done it without the help of reacHIRE.