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Monday, 15 April 2013

Planning your career with maternity in mind

Last night I was with a group of female friends.  Professionally driven, we are 10 years into our careers and in the stage of life where we are either caring or planning for young infants.  With toddlers at home and/or infants on the way (or on the mind) we were measuring the challenges of career growth, transition and strategy with the requirements of maternity leave and caring for a small infant.

The question for bright, ambitious and talented young parents is how to factor early parenthood and parental leaves into your career?  How do we plan for continued success after a parental leave?  And are we planning enough for these breaks?

Here are some of the ideas we discussed at Thorek/Scott and Partners to help keep you connected with your colleagues, managers, employees and professional relationships--managing and planning for this time will empower your career in the long term.
  1. Ask to be kept informed of ongoing projects and initiatives, product launches and system upgrades.  Being informed will help you prepare for any new skills or knowledge you'll have to acquire to hit the ground running upon your return.
  2. Schedule ongoing meetings with your colleagues and managers by phone or in person to stay cognizant of what is happening at the office.
  3. If you are considering a career change while simultaneously caring for a young infant, keep networking, continue assessing your market value and your transferable skills, monitor opportunities and stay in touch with your network.  Stick with your strategy and try to keep momentum.  Continue to meet with a career coach and recruiters.
  4. Keep your professional network active.  If you are a member of an association, continue to attend meetings, conferences and events.  Stay visible.
  5. If you are willing and able to take on small projects from home, do so.
  6. If there are any accreditations or courses you have wanted to take see if you can find a correspondence option.  Adding new professional skills to new parenting skills will be demanding but rewarding.
If you have had success in keeping professionally active so that the transition back into work was smooth and effective, please share them with us.

Lauren Malach, Associate Director

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