FlexiBees now has a thriving community on the Sheroes platform, and this week we are talking about the Returnship journey.
This post below is an encapsulation of this week’s conversation, with the journey fleshed out. Read on.
The Returnship Journey
Returnship or returning to work after a career break, is no easy thing. It takes courage, some know-how of where to start, and loads of support along the way.
It is a return to the jungle you were once familiar with, that now seems populated with alien flora and fauna. Where there used to be a well-worn path, there are only overgrown weeds. You are battle-weary, it’s a lot of work raising the next generation - teaching them to walk, talk, think, sing, laugh and become a person. So why does it seem now like you yourself have forgotten how to walk?
Well, it is normal to feel this way. If you are someone who has just started to think about returning to work after a career break, take a long look at yourself, gather all your questions and doubts, all of your negative thoughts and insecurities, and put them all into a mental box labelled ‘It is normal for me to feel this way, but I will work on changing it.’
‘It is normal for me to feel this way, but I will work on changing it’
And that’s why we, FlexiBees, are here. To help guide you on this journey - help prepare you for it, choose the right destination, carry the right materials, take the smoothest paths, avoid pitfalls, know the best rest-stops and most of all when the going gets tough, be there - to provide support and sisterhood in every way possible.
In one of our recently published polls we asked you to tell us the concerns you had around returning to work. The options were from across the spectrum, ranging from self-confidence to family support, from concern around getting a good job to the child coping with the change once the job was in the bag. And not surprisingly, a majority of you chose the the option that said ‘All of the above’. We have had the same experience over and over again over the last two years that we have been working in this space; having spoken with a few thousand women during that time, and interacting with them on their concerns and questions around returnship, our biggest learning is that returnship is not a step, it’s a journey.
“Returnship is not a step, it’s a journey”
And so we have put together a journey plan. A step by step guide on how to go about it such that every step takes you that much closer to your goal.
Let’s begin at the beginning
Well begun is half done. In the case of returning to work, it could well be the most critical element. There is a very tangible role that readiness plays in your journey - whether it is assessing the kind of job you want to return to i.e. full-time vs part-time, working from office vs working from home, etc, or evaluating the right infrastructure and support system that will be needed to take care of your child in your absence; determining if you have the upgraded skills that makes you a competent hire in the field of your choice, or taking a long hard look at yourself to ascertain whether you are emotionally in the right place to take this step at all - readiness is this and more.
This milestone of the journey is about knowing where you stand, but it is also about improving your situation to make you returnship-ready - and we at FlexiBees will assist you with both to ensure you clear this milestone with flying colors all set to take on the next challenge - that of finding the right job for yourself.
This stage is where the fun begins, the modern-day equivalent of circling relevant jobs in the classifieds with a red pen, and sending in your application. Only today there is so much online clutter that it is difficult to know where to go to find the right jobs, and how to know whether the company or the portal or the platform you are applying to is legitimate.
FlexiBees will guide you through this process, helping with the discovery and evaluation of job portals and programs for maximising the chances of success.
You might wonder why waiting occupies one whole step in the journey. And the answer would be because it is something you need to prepare for. The returnship and/or flexible working spaces today are growing for sure but they are still in the early stages where supply exceeds demand. That means that even after registering yourself with a job site or sending in your resume, there might be a wait time before you are considered for a role that suits you. This can be extremely frustrating, given the amount of effort you have put in to make it this far. But the idea is to not give up hope, to keep your spirits high, and to use the time well.
When you finally do get the call, and if you like the job that you are in consideration for, the next step, which is make-or-break - is to prepare yourself well. In fact, your preparation started the day you decided to take the plunge into returning to work, it started the minute you updated your CV, but at the interview stage, it needs to be of a very focused nature. You need to know how to showcase your strengths, how to position your career break, how to get buy-in at home to support you through your selection process. We will guide you through this and more, so that the process is as smooth as possible, paving the way for a great interaction and success.
Post-launch best practices
Now that you have the job, it’s important to retain it. From our experience of placing returning women in flexible roles, we can say that there are a number of things to keep in mind. In fact, the same challenges that you had at the beginning of the journey come back stronger now. There is a bit of a science to tackling some of them, and we will guide you through those via best practices, and emotional support.
“We will guide you through the post-launch challenges via best practices and emotional support”
So here we are. At the end of this article but at the beginning of an epic adventure. Never forget that you are a pioneer for attempting this journey and what you do today will pave the way for a million others tomorrow. Through this article, we hope you got an idea of the steps, which we will get into more details of as the weeks go by. And most importantly, we hope it reassured you that while the journey might be difficult, there are ways to make it easier and more manageable. That’s what we are here for.
P.S: Keep listening to us for our Women’s Day Special where the whole of next week we will be showcasing inspiring stories of women like you, who successfully completed their returnship journeys and are blazing trails at work again. Through these features we hope to pass on some of their tips & tricks and some of their luck to you, so you can carry the torch forward.
We are not sending individual responses for registrations. If you are shortlisted for any role based on your experience, our recruitment team will get in touch with you.