Women return to work for a variety of reasons, but they all face similar challenges that can be minimized with smart planning.
Back on the Career Track – A Guide for Stay at Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin is a very good road map for women who have left paid employment to raise a family and are considering a return to work. In this book, the authors lay out an effective plan for stay at home moms who want to return to work. They are realistic about the challenges moms returning to work will face, and they provide effective tips for protecting your career while you are out of full time employment.
I've worked with plenty of relaunching moms and have found that when moms return to work, they have more success in reestablishing a career when they have found a way to stay connected to their former colleagues, their industry and developments in work related technology while they were at home with their kids. Back on the Career Track is full of tips for stay at home moms who want to maintain or reestablish professional connections, and for that reason, smart stay at home moms will benefit from implementing the tips in this book even before they are ready to return to work.
The book is remarkably thorough and addresses:
- Fears and insecurities that stay at home moms often face when relaunching a career
- Realistic career considerations and options when moms return to work
- Typical challenges that arise from employment history gaps
- Changes in family and social dynamics when stay at home parents return to work
- Societal and employer views on relaunching moms
Although I'm a big fan of this book, there are two shortcomings in Back on the Career Track. The first is the fact that the authors have chosen to focus on college educated women who established high level, elite careers prior to starting families. The choice to use primarily doctors, lawyers and MBA graduates in the examples in the book is unfortunate.
The excellent advice in this book applies to all stay at home moms who may want to return to the workforce, not just women who left high level careers. If you are not a doctor or a lawyer or you don't hold an MBA, you can definitely benefit from the strategies in this book, but you'll have to remind yourself that all of the tips apply to any stay at home mom from any field of work.
The second shortcoming in the book is in the resume examples in the resources section. Addressing employment history gaps on resumes is an important issue for stay at home moms returning to work. The gaps in the sample resumes in this book are absolutely glaring. There are simple, effective strategies to minimize gaps on your resume while maintaining credibility with employers; those strategies have not been used in the examples here.
Go ahead and apply any and all of the other strategies for returning to work that are outlined in the book; the advice is excellent. When it comes time to write your resume, however, I'd recommend consulting another source for effective tips on minimizing gaps in your work history.
Back on the Career Track is a wonderful, much needed resource for moms returning to work. There is plenty of advice that you can apply well before you are ready to relaunch your career, so this book is a great read for women who are just leaving paid employment to become stay at home moms as well as those who are ready to return to the workforce. The authors do a great job of balancing honesty about the challenges of relaunching a career with the optimism that returning to work is absolutely achievable.
Stay at home moms returning to work can relaunch their careers. I've worked with plenty of moms from all walks of life who achieved this goal. Successful relaunching does take commitment, work and planning, and Back on the Career Track will show you how to do the work to make it happen.
Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work