Returning to work after a career break can be a daunting experience. Through Uber’s uReturn program, we provide support for women to bounce back into their careers with confidence and comfort.
Regardless of why you took a career break—whether it was to spend more time with your children, care for an elderly or sick family member, focus on a hobby or your mental health—we know that sometimes the confidence to jump right back in doesn’t come easily.
We spoke to Senior Engineering Manager and uReturn Program Lead, Jhansi Patnala, to hear her tips on how you can return to work with ease and ensure a smooth transition after you’ve landed the job.
Seek help and ask questions
“My biggest piece of advice is don’t hesitate to ask for help. People returning to work after a break may feel low on confidence and hesitate to ask questions and seek clarifications while navigating their new job. I want you to know that generally people are actually very helpful. Most people are quite willing (even flattered) to share their knowledge and expertise when asked. On top of this, don’t be afraid to share your perspective. At Uber we say Great minds don’t think alike – you bring a unique perspective which can help others see things differently and ultimately benefits us all.”
Reboot your support network
“Maybe you’ve stayed in touch with old colleagues while you were out of the workforce but if you haven’t, get back in touch and let people know you are looking to return to work. Be proactive and ask them if they are willing to answer any questions you may have when they come up so that you know you can reach out to them if you ever need to. Doing this might also make it easier to seek help and ask questions later.”
Rebuild your industry knowledge
“There’s a reason you took that career break in the first place and you may have been too busy to stay up to speed with the latest industry trends. If that’s you, sign up for relevant newsletters and publications, join online forums and communities, and seek out webinars and conferences. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your new team members questions about what’s been brewing in the industry in terms of the latest trends.”
Reset expectations at home
“If you took your career break to support family members at home, your return to work will also be an adjustment for them. Talk about what this means for you and them and be open, especially with kids, about how your and their daily schedules will change with your return to work.”
Be clear about your work-life balance needs
“When you start your new role, be open with your manager about any accommodation you need to help maintain a healthy work-life balance. I actually recommend having these discussions during your interviews to make sure you will get the support you need, but if you haven’t already then make it a priority once you start, and get absolute clarity on what flexibility is available to you.”
“Last but certainly not least, please make time for yourself! It might seem counterintuitive to do this at a time when you might feel like you are already putting yourself first (in terms of your career) but in order to show up in all parts of your life it’s important to practice self-care. In fact, when you return to work, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have time to fit in some self-care as you juggle more with less. Getting it right from the start helps establish the habit.”
Are you thinking about returning to work? Learn more about uReturn →
uReturn offers full time roles to experienced women who are on a career break and would like to return to the workforce.
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