7 things to do if your pre-baby job no longer works for you
Maternity leave is like no other time in your life. You are on an extended sabbatical from work, no questions asked. Time stretches ahead of you with no real structure or routine and you feel like you are living on some kind of parallel universe where everyone else is running around working and living their normal lives and you are your own boss suddenly – or rather the baby is and you are their serving wench.
As the end of this hazy, crazy time approaches and the prospect of returning to your job comes into sharp focus it is more common than you might think for women to realise that they don’t actually want to go back.
It takes the life altering experience of having a baby to kick start what has often been lying dormant within many women for a while. It’s a crossroads moment of the highest order. And it is both exhilarating and terrifying.
Surely you have had enough change for the time being. Let’s not rock that poor boat anymore. But the feeling won’t shift – so what do you do?
I know this feeling well. It was after having my little boy four years ago, that I was in exactly this position and took the decision to leave my 9-5 role and set up as a coach for mums who want to change career.
I wanted to share my top 7 things to do when you realise that your pre-baby job no longer works for you.
Embrace the feelings
When we try to fight with our instincts we invariably lose, maybe not straight away but eventually they’ll resurface in some other way. So, if you can’t shake the feeling that you want to leave or do something different, go with it. It is your truth trying to get your attention.
Take it one step at a time
there is such a temptation, especially if you are impatient like me, to want to make change happen instantly to find all the answers and to go hell for leather with the next big thing. But it doesn’t work like that. Once you have become comfortable with the idea of not returning or handing your notice in ask yourself, what is the next obvious thing to do? You only have to focus on that. Then the next step will reveal itself. Have a big goal but take baby steps to get to it.
Talk to people
By this I mean your nearest and dearest – might be worth checking in with your significant other about your plans and talking to friends about how you are feeling. But I also mean other women who have made this decision, people working in other industries that interest you, women who have started their own businesses, stay at home mums. We often assume we can do it all ourselves – and just because we can doesn’t mean we have to. Sharing the emotional load with this decision is so important. No mum is an island.
I always encourage the women I work with to remember that no decision is finite, this is just one new chapter of many you will have. You can only go with what feels right for you at the time and what you think would be best for you and your family right now. New parenthood is a totally unique time in your life and the decisions you make now are defined by a certain set of circumstances that will not always be so. Having small children at home creates certain needs and pressures on what you do for work that are not going to be around forever. What you decide to do now, you can change in the future. And that’s ok.
When we decide to make changes of any sort our mean-girl inner critic has a field day and fear kicks in big time. We tell ourselves all the reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t do something. These stories are powerful, I’m not saying don’t listen to them I’m just saying don’t let them rule the day. By all means play devil’s advocate with ideas and options but until you know facts about a certain course of action assume you know nothing. Once you start researching and asking questions and putting yourself out there you might be surprised what you uncover.
Seek professional advice
Be that from a career adviser, a trusted colleague or a coach. There is so much choice out there for women who decide that they don’t want their pre-baby job. It can be overwhelming and daunting. Seeking advice and guidance is so important as it makes your personal journey that much more manageable and puts you back in control. Let go of the idea of having to find the next perfect thing for you. There are likely to be loads of things you could do, it’s about being open-minded and curious.
Ditch the guilt
Remember this. With parenthood comes mammoth perspective change – you don’t have to go back to a job that isn’t right for you. You can find a new role. You don’t need permission. It doesn’t make you bad mum or a rubbish human. It makes you self-aware, honest and brave. Many don’t follow that instinct be one of the ones that does.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if your pre-baby job no longer works for you. Or if you’re curious about coaching or working with me to help with career change. You can reach me via That Works For Me in the Benefits area of your account.
Good luck. You got this.
Who is Rebecca Levene?
Rebecca is our That Works For Me Self Discovery coach. Helping parents like us find their purpose in life and jump over those career barriers (self imposed nine times out of ten she adds) that hold us back from making real and lasting change in our lives. “If you want to do what lights you up for a living then you can,” she says. “My life coaching is down to earth, honest and fuss free. It’s for the curious and the brave and for mums who are just fed up with feeling just a little bit shit all of the time. You have the power to change your life in any way you choose to. If you are ready (or nearly ready) to turn the page my darling, lets talk.”
If you are interested in talking to Rebecca about changing your life, you can reach her via the Benefits area of your account (you must have the Workseeker, Freelance, Business or Corporate package)
She will also be accessible via our platform to book in a free discovery call so keep an eye out for updates on when you can sign up!
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