For most new moms, returning to work after maternity leave places them at something of a crossroads.
While maternity leave is predominantly spent delighting in the wonder of your new baby, the time away from work also tends to give way to second thoughts.
As a result, it is not unusual for women on maternity leave to find themselves contemplating their return to work – and envisioning that, perhaps, now might be the right time to make a significant career change.
Is a career change after maternity leave really possible?
The simple truth is that, across the course of your working life, there may be no better time to plan to change your career than during maternity leave.
You have been presented with time off work, which lends clarity to your thoughts, and can help you make clear decisions for the future.
Also, you may find it helpful to talk through your feelings with a friend, family member, or even a therapist – externalizing your realization that you want something different from your career can help to focus your thoughts even further, while also ensuring you have plenty of support as you consider your options.
What do you want from your new career path?
If you are considering following a new career path after maternity leave, there are three different ways to do it:
- A complete change; if you have previously worked in accounting, you may wish to completely retrain to be a nurse, a software coder, a teacher, or explore any of the other jobs that specifically appeal to you outside of your existing occupation – essentially, you’re looking for a complete, absolute change
- A partial change that improves your career path while remaining in the same profession; if you’re a writer, you could look to add editing to your list of abilities; if you’re a nurse, you could look to bolster your education in order to advance to the next stage of your career, and so on, as relevant to your individual career
- A change to your job role rather than your profession; perhaps you’re happy working as a teacher, but you no longer wish to work at the school you had previously worked at, so switching the working environment – rather than the job itself – is the most suitable choice
It’s important to stress that there is no “right” decision here; you can just choose the option that is most compatible for your preferences.
How can you implement your career change?
The process of changing your career is rather simple: identify the change you want, as detailed above, and then take the necessary next steps.
What the next steps are will depend on your chosen path: if you’re a nurse, a partial change may include enrolling on DNP programs in order to gain a higher level of qualification; a complete change from teacher to software coding would likely require you to re-enter education; while a change to a job role will usually mean improving your resumé and beginning to make new applications.
More moms than you may think use their maternity leave as an opportunity to assess their career and, where they feel it appropriate, use the time they have to make beneficial changes that will form the roadmap for the rest of their working lives.
If you have found yourself considering doing the same, then hopefully the simple, straightforward guide as presented above can help to guide your thinking in this regard.