My City Woman's blog on returning to work after a career break

Returning To Work After A Career Break – Survival Tips

It’s always a tough decision to take that break from career. You weigh the pros and cons and think over and over again and say “It’s going to be okay”. Women may have various reasons like care-giving to the elderly or young children or maternity break. If you thought taking that break is tough, returning back may be tougher!

Organisations these days support women in every way when it comes to taking a career break. The human resource department have detailed clause regarding this. All of this aside, here is what you may expect on returning back and ways to deal with it.

Returning back:

Rule number one: Never cut yourself off completely from people at work, even if you do from work!

You may find that people change teams, roles and responsibilities and you would have an uncomfortable feeling once you get back.  It also has one more benefit- your team remembers  you more closely.  It’s easier for them too , to have you back.

Rule number 2: Give yourself sometime to settle down. Picture that even when you get back to work after a two week vacation, you take a few days to settle at workplace. Here, you would are re-joining after a few months or may be years. So go easy on yourself.

Rule number 3: If possible upgrade your skills. This gives a clear edge when you rejoin. Instead of explaining your manager that you are a quick learner and would try and pick up work in no time, you’d have something to say like you acquired a new skill while you were away. It may be a web-based learning, a few weeks refresher course on SQL or six sigma certification. It’s important that you learn something that is relevant to your role or helps your career path in some way. This also gives a fantastic impression of you as someone who is willing to learn and upskill.

And now the bitter truth….
  1. You would be lagging behind in the corporate rat race. You would have prepared for this mentally- but its tough to see your subordinates at work move ahead of you. You may even report to them! Its difficult to take it in. Reality hits hard and this is a big truth. And how to deal with it? Consider changing your team or even your firm. There is little worth in stressing out so much for situations that you weren’t totally in control of.
  2. You may have to re-establish your credentials. It’s a dynamic world. Consider a near-valid situation where your manager and/or your management in entirety may have changed. With this new management, you would have to re-establish your credentials as a quality worker. Could be hard on you if you consider yourself a veteran!
  3. You may not have too many takers – If you are applying for a new role in the organisation or even looking for a change. In reality, you have been on a break, managers often do not want to take on resources who they perceive may be “rusted” in their skill set. You may have to reach out to your peers, managers or even senior management to convince that you are good with your work and raring to go.


The purpose of this write-up is not to discourage you in any way in your decision. It is to prepare you well. You have complete right to decide what is good for you and those around you.  Often , there are many aspects that come to light only when you walk that path yourself. I have. Also, these are my own personal views and experiences. Your own experiences might have been better than mine. I’d be delighted to hear those. So pour it in, in the comments below…


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