Brittany lives with her husband and three sons in Utah. She is a playwright, composer, actress, singer, thrift shop lover, Mormon and aspiring vegan. She is the founder of the International Bloggers Association, is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and the Cognitive Behavioral Society (’cause why not). Brittany has a B.A. in English-Writing from Denison University and has an imaginary Ph.d. in Googling stuff she wants to know. You can keep up with her at BrittanyBullen.com.
Going After The Job You Really Want
In the years that my children were in grade school, I enjoyed getting to know the support people in their buildings – the custodial staff, the secretaries, the para-professionals – and it never ceased to amaze me how the two latter groups consisted, in large part, of former lawyers, accountants, and business executives.
Similarly, many of the women stacking shelves at our local Gap store and manning the counter at the spin and barre studios were former accomplished professionals, too.
The pull of a low-stress job and a school-hours or flexible schedule must be strong, I used to assume.
But I was wrong.
True, working the same hours as your children is convenient, and having a job that you don’t ‘take home’ with you at night and over weekends, has its advantages. However, I learned through two decades of coaching and placing these women that it wasn’t the schedule or the workload that drew them to these positions. It was the safety.
Most of the aspiring women-returners I’ve met in the last 20+ years arrived at my office already defeated. When, after having a child, they were faced with the “all or nothing” choice to work 60 hours a week, or quit and stay home, they chose the latter, leaving behind careers that they loved and becoming part of the female brain drain that plagued (and still plagues) the U.S. Then, when they’re ready to opt back into the workplace, résumé gaps and related biases have made it difficult for these women to land.
By the time they come to me – a kindred spirit, having been one of them myself – they are discouraged and fully expect rejection as ‘punishment’ for taking years off to raise their children. Which, of course, is ludicrous, and I get right to work helping them erase that narrative from their heads.
But in the heads of the ones who don’t come to me, that narrative is on a continuous loop. Many of them are now helping our kids in the classroom and signing us in to spin class because they settled for ‘safer’ jobs.
A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women derail themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them with the intention of returning. These women should be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck. They don’t know how to properly prepare for their career re-launches and they get quickly discouraged by early rejections.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Women-returners are unquestionably employable. Employers my partners and I polled consider them the best hiring demographic. I’ve personally witnessed hundreds – probably over 1,000 – of them find fulfilling work in my small corner of the world (Connecticut).
Some things make it easier, of course, like keeping up with industry trends, staying current with certifications and licensure, and maintaining relationships with old clients and co-workers. But even women with significant skill deficiencies and long-lapsed credentials can return to work successfully if they have these five things:
1 – realistic expectations based on thorough research and honest self-assessment
2 – a compelling résumé that meaningfully accounts for her opt-out years
3 – a commitment to remediating skill gaps on the job or through inexpensive means like online classes or local continuing education courses
4 – aggressive (not a popular word among women, but spot-on here) networking to get in front of connectors and hiring managers
5 – flexibility and the willingness to consider unconventional offerings like temporary projects or low-paying internships as a way to get a foot in the door.
The economy is improving. The labor market is tight. The voluntary quit rate is at a 17-year high. Employers are competing to hire good people. And, these days, you don’t have to be perfect to be ‘good people’.
Your gapped résumé, your ‘not entirely perfect’ experience, your application that meets only 60% of the job criteria, are all plenty good enough now.
So, if you are wistful for more challenge (and money) than your current job can provide; if you want to get back on the corporate track, but are playing it safe working for minimum wage; listen up. Your time at home was valuable; its impact will be long-lasting, but you have an opportunity now to take advantage of favorable economic timing and get back to the work that you really want to do. Go for it.
FREE Online Conference Alert! A Don’t Miss Opp for Small Biz Owners
I made the announcement last week to mark your calendars for May 12-14, 2016 for Modern Femme Movement (Seriously, do NOT miss this!!). More coming on that front (Stay tuned!), and a teeny, tiny reminder that subscribers to this blog (Fill me out over there!! —–>) and members of the Facebook community will get the first shot at early registration. I have a few other surprises in the works, but I wanted to take a quick moment to share a fabulous free online conference opportunity for busy women.
Next week, Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women, will kick off with an honest look from top women in health, wellness, and fitness as we all aim for a more balanced, fulfilled life. This free online conference is packed with insight, wisdom and takeaways from 20 of the busiest women on this planet! And I’m thrilled to say, quite honored actually, that I’m included in this bunch of fabulous ladies.
Bryn from coachbryn.com interviewed me several weeks ago for this summit, and I can’t wait for my own podcast to run for a 48 hour stretch beginning May 29. We may have run down a few rabbit trails talking about my tattoos and why they are therapy for me, and I finish off with the one question you should be asking yourself every, single day as a small business owner and busy working woman.
There are very few free online conference opportunities that offer such rich insight to attendees. These ladies are not “phoning it in.” There is a real heart passion for women finding peace and contentment in good health, good business and great family. The podcasts allow you the flexibility to tune in when is best for you. I hope you’ll join us!
Alex’s Lemonade Stand – The Mini but Mighty Heroes – End Childhood Cancer
As a mother, as a human being…the words escape me. There is no way to properly express the empathy I feel for families who battle cancer, and for those with young children…I just can’t even speak. It makes my heart ache. It scares me. It makes me angry. And I want to end childhood cancer. All cancer. NOW. So that no child will hurt or suffer in its horrible grasp ever again. So that no family has to brave such heartbreak ever again. I am honored to have the opportunity to join the fight alongside Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Auntie Anne’s, and encourage you to consider giving whatever you can to help fund research to put an end to childhood cancer.
Today is about sharing one brave boy’s battle with childhood cancer. As a part of the Mini but Mighty Hero campaign, it’s my job to introduce you to Elijah. This sweet boy hails from Little Rock, AR and was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2005. To get him the very best care at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, his family made a big decision to move from their home to the busy city, and he’s been fighting cancer with the hospital’s special care for 5 years.
To Elijah and his family and the wonderful hospital staff providing his care: I pray steadfastly for a speedy journey to recovery. I pray that wisdom and creativity would flow through the doctor’s and nurses entitled with your care. I pray healing, hope, and heart to traverse the dark days when you’re tired, frustrated and down. I pray for sunshine and strength, peace and comfort. I pray for the good health of your family and that they are strong in body and mind to stand with you every second of every day in this battle. I admire your smile and I think you are beautiful. God’s light shines in you and I and humbled by your spirit. Keep up the good work! Keep fighting and know we are all standing with you, battling to cover more ground in the war against childhood cancer. You are loved.
Will you join me? Will you give back and contribute to the battle to end childhood cancer? Will you honor these mighty heroes and show them that you care?
You can contribute to the cause by clicking on the widget above or by visiting this link: https://www.tilt.com/campaigns/themightyfight. You can also choose to wear a yellow pretzel ribbon to spread the word among friends, coworkers and family that we all need to join the battle to end childhood cancer.
Lastly, as The Studio Hampton Roads prepares for our big open house at our new location, we will be taking the cause one step further by hosting a Lemonade Stand at the celebration. Please join us on September 6, 2014 from 11AM – 3PM at 2513 N. Landing Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456 to enjoy some tasty lemonade and other treats and bring your donations for this worthy cause. If you can’t join us in person, we hope you’ll choose to join us from wherever you are by helping us reach our goal to fund a week’s worth of research by visiting our fundraising page, Life is Sweet. And if you’re really willing to dig in and help even more, sign up to host your own lemonade stand!