Two months ago I had to make an abrupt transition from easy-going long mornings at home to a hectic beginning of my day at the office. I had to replace the freedom to choose what my day would look like to the mandatory meetings with colleagues and external agencies. I had to substitute top daily tasks like grocery shopping and cleaning the apartment with new ones like organizing big events and conferences.
I had a hard time making this transition, I have to admit. However, I applied the following five principles in my daily routine and this helped me make the transition a bit smoother and easier.
Be active and social during the break
It is of vital importance that during your time off work you keep yourself active. Don’t sit in your home the whole day doing non-productive things like watching TV or spending hours and hours scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feeds. This will not lead you to anything good. You can try networking by attending different social events such as conferences, cocktail parties, or any other events that can bring you to new interesting people. Usually during such events you can find out a whole new hidden job market that does not exist in the traditional job-searching websites. You never know who you will meet at such occasions – your career path might take an U-turn before you know it.
Another way to keep yourself busy is by doing volunteering work. This was what I did during my break off work – I was a teacher at a private language school. Actually, this was part of my professional qualification required by my university but it did wonders to my working abilities. It kept me on track and I did not lose my motivation and energy when approaching a work-related task.
Don’t hold on to the notion of perfection
That was hard for me to believe in. Naturally, I am a career-driven person and I think that every task that I am assigned to must be performed perfectly, without any mistakes, and most importantly according to all expectations of my direct supervisor. However, the company that I work for is going through a massive transformation and part of it is the focus on the idea that perfect does not exist. Mistakes and failures are important if you want to learn new things. This has helped me realize that there is no such thing as a super-employee, super-girlfriend, and a super-friend always at the same time. I had to learn how to prioritize what is the most important thing at any given time and focus my attention on it only without feeling guilty of neglecting my other tasks. Now I embrace my situation and I feel incredibly blessed and fortune to have such supportive family, friends, and colleagues.
Regular feedback sessions with your direct supervisor
When you have doubts about your performance at your job, speak about them with your direct supervisor. I found out that when everything is on the table and everybody in the team shares their concerns and feelings before the emotional bomb explodes, you can prevent bad situations that may have an impact on your general performance. I make sure that I have regular feedback sessions with my supervisor in order to discuss anything that bothers us before giving it a chance to do harm to my job.
Have a friend/colleague as a mentor
I have a friendly colleague that has not been in any way officially assigned to me as my mentor but I know that I can rely on her for anything. She quickly became my confidant, friend, and vital resource for anything that may become a stumbling block for me at my work – from simple job-related process that I must follow to personal pieces of advice regarding my relationships with my fellow colleague. You’ll recognize a good prospect for a mentor, whether assigned or informally chosen, as someone with whom you connect personally, who is eager to help and who has your best interests in mind.
Rely on supportive family members
Even though this point is the last one on my list, I believe that if you do not have any supportive family members and friends that you can rely on, you will find it infinitely more difficult to restart your career. My transition back to work would not have been possible without the help of my boyfriend who has taken on responsibilities that I can no longer fully manage. He has helped me with meal preparations, grocery shopping, and keeping our home tidy and clean. This is of vital importance especially if you are a mom and you need to find a way to keep the work-home balance and do not miss any important events of your loved ones.
Have you ever had the need to take some time off work? How did you restart your career?
See you soon.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the pictures used in this blog post. They belong to their rightful owners.