Taking a contracting position was my ticket back to the workplace. It is one of many strategies you could adopt. In this great Telegraph article, read about the amount of internships and return-to-work programmes there are out in the marketplace. These usually start as a three-month trial.
Checking-in on the plus side
Remember, you were a risk-taker who took the plunge and left the workforce for while. In itself that’s another competency; a string to your bow to discuss in interview. You probably left to honour values other than work that were important to you. WELL DONE YOU.
You think about coming back and you encounter, either real or imagined, the triple whammy of gender bias, age and a perceived skills gap.
When I returned to work after seven years out, I took a fixed term contract just so that my employer could suss me out. They need if I could do what I “said on the tin”.
The Benefits of a Contracting Position
Although a little uncertain because I couldn’t commit to long-term childcare, and I initially committed to five days per week (I now do four including one from home) it worked out brilliantly for a few reasons:
- I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it; I joined a professional services partnership looking after their partner recruitment. I had no clue how a partnership worked or the complexities of both attracting, and encouraging existing partners to sign on the dotted line for talent, thereby reducing their own profit pool – at times, a hard sell.
- My contract gave me a natural break point at six months; where we could all take a view on if it was still working. Had it not, there would have been no difficult conversations, just the completion of terms.
- It gave me leverage. I was able to demonstrate my wares! I brought experience of dealing with 1000567 competing priorities, being the MD of my household. Not to mention full-time parent. By the time my contract was up, they needed to pay me 15% more and promote me to keep me.
- I had only organised childcare for six months as that is all the company had committed to. Therefore I needed some time out to find permanent childcare and look after the children over summer holidays. I got to take a six week break before I re-joined the company as a permanent person! So, more money, time out, and holiday without having to put in a holiday form…just saying…
Ready for More
I would seriously think about going back to work as a contractor. Reduce your rate for a bit if that feels right to you. Build your personal brand back up. Remember why you were good. Then go in and negotiate. More on negotiation tips in another post!