Apr 19 2016
Remember the awkward social situation I presented in part 1 of this article series? What exactly makes the situation awkward and uncomfortable? Is it you or the other person? Before you decide on your answer, I would like to present you with a few rules of the game when it comes to stepping in and out of the paid workforce. It is a game in the sense that your end goal is to step back into the paid workforce, so a few rules are a great way to guide your decision making moving forward.
I developed these rules over time after personally navigating the transition in and out of the paid workforce (I stepped away for three and half years just after a military move and stepped back into it after the next military move), followed by extensive work with clients making the same change. The rules will help you change your perspective and feel more confident about yourself before, during, and after stepping in and out of the paid workforce.
Rule #1. Appreciate the value of what you are doing. Now and later.
As presented in part 1, work doesn’t have to be paid to be valuable. If you are questioning the value of whatever you are doing while you are out of the paid workforce, then you are due for a pep talk. Look to a friend, a past colleague, or a professional advisor to help you reframe your perspective.
Don’t limit yourself to understanding and appreciating the value of your work now. Also think about how your experiences will provide benefit later. For example, after you spend a year away travelling the globe, your future employer will benefit from your experience because you now know how to respectfully interact with people from various cultures, you are extremely resourceful and calm under pressure.
Rule #2. Know how to talk about your time away.
This rule will help you overcome the challenges mentioned in part 1. If you are confident when talking about your experiences during your time away, then others will be more apt to listen and give your experiences serious consideration.
Pro Tip: Communicate your level of performance and quantify your achievements so they are irrefutable.
Rule #3. Be confident, regardless of how others respond.
Another key point mentioned in part 1was people aren’t going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Think back on that uncomfortable social situation. If you believe the situation was awkward and uncomfortable because of the person asking the question, then you must consider this statement:
“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” — unknown
Be confident in your value and your choices, talk about them with pride and respect, and don’t allow other people’s feelings and responses to change how you feel about yourself. When you use these simple rules to guide your transitions, the right employer will appreciate the value you will bring to their team.— Michelle Aikman
About the Author:
Michelle Aikman is a military spouse and career management expert. She is one of only 50 Nationally Certified Résumé Writers in the world and was just named 2016 Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse magazine and Armed Forces Insurance. Find Michelle on LinkedIn and Twitter @michelle_aikman.