If you are returning to work after a divorce, you might feel nervous or overwhelmed about the situation. Maybe you put your career on hold to take care of your family. Maybe you took a break from work to support your spouse and household. No matter the reason, returning to work is a lifechanging event that is also a great opportunity for a fresh start.
The Advantages of Returning to Work
Returning to work after divorce helps provide you with financial freedom, an opportunity to reignite your professional network, a chance to learn new skills, and a renewed sense of purpose. From a financial perspective, when you return to work, you are making your own money – which means you will be less likely to depend on others for financial support. You can increase your household budget and not worry as much if something happens and your ex is late paying alimony or child support. Financial independence brings with it a new sense of confidence. If you are new to money management, you might be interested in taking a class about financial planning and budgeting.
Returning to work also provides the opportunity to re-ignite your professional network. A new work environment means new people to meet. You can work on building your professional contacts, which could lead to job opportunities in the future. Having a group of professional peers is also helpful when you need advice, want help reviewing work materials, or are looking for personal recommendations. Also, as a bonus, as your professional network grows, so will your social life and opportunities for fun outside of the home or office. A new job creates a new social outlet separate from your couple friends with your ex.
The Challenges of Returning to Work
One of the most common fears related to returning to work is technology. What about the advancements with phones, computers, or programming that have happened since you left the business? Classes or training sessions are a great way to get back up to speed. Many companies offer training sessions for new employees. Alternatively, for a small investment of time and money, you could also take a class at a local school or training facility. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about new technology as well as try out a new trade or skill. (Tip: after you complete your training or certification, be sure to update your resume and LinkedIn profile to leverage your new skills!)
Another challenge is the change to your lifestyle and family routine. For those who have families and loved ones at home – returning to work is a transition for everyone involved. This can also mean less time with your children and the added expense of childcare. It is an adjustment, but with careful planning and new household schedules, it is achievable. Plus, more companies are offering flexible schedules and work from home, so it is easier than ever to balance work and your other responsibilities.
Make a Plan
One of the hardest parts of returning to work after divorce can be getting started. After a few (or more) years out of the workforce, you may not know how to jump back in. The best way to get started is to make a plan and identify what tasks you need to complete as part of your job search. Remember, a job search does not happen overnight. Give yourself some lead time to get back into the job market before you actually need to be employed. If you are not sure where to begin, here are six tips to get started:
1. Update Your Resume
Include any skills you have learned and volunteer work you did while out of the workforce. Update older job descriptions to include the most transferrable skills in today’s work climate. Confirm that your old references are still willing to be references. Once you have written out your strongest qualities and skills, you can see what opportunities might be a good fit for you.
2. Refresh Skills
If you have been out of the workforce for some time, your skills may be a little dated. You do not have to invest in a new degree or certification, but taking a few targeted classes, either online or in-person will help bring your training up to date. Plus, potential employers will be impressed by your willingness to keep current and invest in yourself.
3. Be Realistic
Depending on how long of a break you took, you may not be able to return to your old job title and salary right away, especially if there have been major changes in your field. Look for jobs you are a good fit for you today. Your first job back does not have to be your forever job or even on the exact career track you are interested in. Having a job will make you more attractive to other employers and create connections and opportunities for you.
4. Renew Contacts
Reach out to the people you knew when you were working. Even if it has been a while, they will likely be happy to help you. Ask not only if they know about opportunities but also if they can make introductions for you. Get involved in professional organizations again so you can get to know the most active people in your field at this moment.
5. Practice Interviewing
Having to go to an interview can be nerve-racking, especially if you have not done one in a while. Ask a friend to help you practice for interviews. Research potential interview questions and practice answering them out loud to your friend. Conducting a trial one will help build your confidence for the real interviews.
6. Take Action
There are a million excuses you could use to talk yourself out of applying for certain jobs, or even on getting started on your job search. The best way to get back into your career is to consistently take small actions towards that goal. Set goals to mark progress on your job search such as reaching out to a certain number of contacts or applying to a certain number of jobs per week. The more you put yourself out there, the more quickly you will find a job and the more likely it will be to be a job you love.
If you have any questions about returning to work after divorce, or if you need help with your family law case, you can contact Porchlight at (678) 435-9069 or make an appointment through our online scheduling system.