Back to Work After A ‘Career’ Break

principles at Deeson

It’s been a little over a year I’ve worked in the traditional sense. The main reason for my break was this and some other things (in German), as well as this blog and my cards.

I think it is fair to say that it’s been a bit of an odd journey. Though, it was also very good for me, cathartic. I had a lot of time to reflect on the past, work through some things that have been lingering in the back of my mind for years and took a lot emotionally, and think about the things I want to be doing with my time.

Considering myself as someone “off the job market” for this period of time was rather strange. It took a very long time to accept that this was happening and that I’d get back to work when I was ready. There were some attempts last year in November, a mere two months after surgery, when I thought I’d had to start looking for a job again. After all, that was the plan before I found out about that little something in my head. I had a couple of interviews and it was exhausting! It took all my energy for several days to prepare for an interview. I had to write everything down and try to remember what I actually achieved and am good at cause I’d forget the next minute or wouldn’t find the right words. It was tiring! It took a nudge from my husband and I decided rightfully so to quit looking for a job and delay it until this year.

Working out what I’m good at and want to do

When I finally was ready beginning of the summer this year, I felt like I had forgotten everything I know and had done in the last 10 years. It was like starting fresh. I did a couple of exercises to help me pin down my talents, skills and competencies thanks to a transactional analysis exercise my mum sent me. The results didn’t show anything that I actually hadn’t known before, but they were certainly a confirmation and assurance. What was hidden away in the depth of my head, I managed to dig out to the surface again.

If anyone is curious to also take some time to reflect on latent talents, here are the exercises:

What did you do often, with pleasure and what did you do well at [10, 15, 20, 30] years old?
Reflect on your abilities and connect it to your current professional situation:

  • What had meaning to you?
  • What did you manage?
  • What was easy for you?
  • What did you enjoy doing?
  • What have you done often?
  • What have you done particularly well?
  • For what could you have been praised?

Things that you did/do often is your potential. Things that you enjoy(ed) doing is your talent and things that you did/do well is your competency.

It took me a couple of rounds to get through this in as much detail as possible. But as I said, it does bring clarity and, who knows, could reveal something you didn’t think about before.

The interviews

Here’s the thing. It is hard “selling” yourself for hours on end, multiple times a week. I know this is what you have to do and people do it all the time. But, oh my, what a shock to the system to suddenly talk about myself, be switched on and perform all the time.
I recommend a lot of down-time in between, where no one talks to you and you don’t have to talk to anyone or answer any questions.
I always dreaded the “so what have you been doing for the past year” question. It’s of course not ideal to have a gap in your CV, but I grew more confident with each interview, that it wasn’t a barrier. Rather, it is normal and can be a bonus. Basically, I was worried for nothing.

Photo credit: Deeson Group Ltd.

2 Comments

  1. Christine
    17 September 2017

    Digging out your latent talents and reflecting about it could bring up some things you covered in your past and you did not considered as something useful to build “career” on. It bring into light what you are really good at, what you really like. Sometimes it appears unspectacular like ” love talking with people” or “like to travel” but this could be an opener to think about a different way of working or living.
    It’s a development process and takes some time and help, as we tend to discover only what we already see.

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