Jeopardy Of Returning to Work After A Break ~ Things Women Face

Are you a stay at home mom? Are you someone who is returning to work after a break? Or you have plans to? In this blog, I am going to share a combined experience of so many women out there who have been struggling to make it back to their career path after a long absence at work, including me.

A woman who is well-educated, knows her rights and question her existence is always on a lookout for some opportunities to take in her stride, this is one another outcome of the patriarchal system we are embedded with that we have to prove ourselves every now and then.

Being a single parent, now I don’t even have the liberty to mope or brood about my situation, I have to get to work. Although I have strong family support, this is not how I imagined myself in the famous” Where do I see myself in next five years” question, we get asked every time we give an interview.

What is it like to, returning to work after a break?

Over the past few months, I have been planning on returning to work after a break. I started applying for jobs. I have been doing good in my writing job, I get paid a decent amount but as a freelancer, it is still a fluctuating monthly income. In order to raise a child single-handedly and keep things running smoothly, I took this decision. But this doesn’t mean I will not blog, I will minimise my spread maybe. I had everything planned out before I began applying to the jobs.

I started with modifying my CV, and it sucked big time with this huge career break of 5 years, because there exists a completely alien world outside our small writing community, and for them, our digital space doesn’t even exist. No matter how amazing you are at your work, no matter how many people love what you do, it becomes so hard to explain it to someone you just met.

So, finally, I prepared two separate CVs one for my corporate job in supply chain management and logistics profile, like my earlier job, and the second one that suits a job profile of a SEO writer/digital creator. I got few matches and even went through a few telephonic rounds.

returning to work after a break
Ready to work from home

Restarting after a career break

Do you know, what was worse than negotiating the salary? The pressure of convincing them that I still exist. Most of the time, when a recruiter is interviewing you, they make it a point to bring you to a level where you either lose yourself or the job. After enough of explaining and putting my best foot forward, I even got reminded of Geet from Jab We Met, where she says, “Aap convince hogae ki main aur bolu? –are you convinced now or should I explain more?

It was when the interviewer laughed and said that “oh so you a mom blogger”(it hit me hard), a good thing to do to pass the time at home. I was at my wit’s end. Because a thing of a time pass doesn’t help you earn name and money. It doesn’t get you listed among top bloggers, write 4 books, one biography and win awards. I wanted to tell it all to that guy but I kept my calm. Breath in, breath out, Priyanka! Then he started negotiating on the salary and considered the base salary I was earning back in 2016, seriously?

I just felt like hanging up the phone but then I reminded myself, this is reality. Every time we try to break the glass ceiling and we find such people in the way who try to break us. I see so many women returning to work after a break with a heavy heart sometimes compromising on their salaries and job profile. Sometimes not even being able to use their full potential because of the unsupportive environment we have got around. So many of us are frustrated inside because we want to do a lot of things, leave a mark behind but we don’t get healthy opportunities.

How to get back to work after a long break?

It might sound like losing ourselves in a biological space suit and trying to figure out what might hit us next. But NO, we are not stopping here, neither we are giving up. What we can do is:

1.) Be realistic in your approach

2.) Have a cover letter and CV updated

3.) Set your priorities right

4.) Be open to seek help when needed

5.) Network and look out for career return programs (Godrej, Convergys, Tata group offer some)

I am going to work harder until I establish myself and maybe someday I will find a decent job with which I can pursue my passion for mental health blogging as well. Till then, I am all game. So are you returning to work after a break? I say, bring it on and we will make our way through all the jeopardies.

Love and light


returning to work after a break

Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla and sponsored by Queen’s Brigade.

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33 Responses

  1. Your post reminded me of all the stages in my life when I took a break and decided to give more time to family. Each time, the same story was repeated – I followed the steps you have laid down in your post and yes, I faced weird comments from recruiters. Its sad how recruiters believe that they have an upper hand when the applicant doesn’t have a job. All I can tell you and others is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, the road is tough but you will emerge as a winner if you keep walking.
    Thank you for writing this post, I am sure its going encourage and inspire many women who wish to return to work. Keep writing and spreading positivity.

  2. Wow! This piece spoke to me. It’s been 5 years and I’m yet to return to full-time work but I will not give up. COVID ruined my plans to resume work in 2020. But if a celebrated blogger like you faces such derision, what can small-time freelancers like me hope to do! It makes me sad to think that the corporate world is so unsupportive of women returning to work.

    1. Thanks a lot! We will get through this 🙂 the thing is, sharing the same sphere we understand the effort we put in our writings but a layman sees it mostly as a social media fancy.

  3. I totally can relate the way you explained everything here. I have a fulltime job and I also sometimes think to quit my job and will take a sabbatical leave. But most of my married friends those who took a break they often discussed these points. I guess, time will change for sure and Corporate world will judge people by their skills not by social tags.

  4. Your post is reminding me of starting my career after a break. As a single mother I had to take a job. So, applied, secured a govt job after a long process of written tests and interviews. Anyway through all the criticisms, humiliations, I’m now settled. Yes, I always get my parents standing behind me as the pillars. Really, like the way you’ve described every situation here. More power to you.

  5. Loved the topic you have chosen to write on. It’s not only work but there are many things that we want to get back too and being determined and updated is the way to go. I’m trying some things out too and will keep your tips in use.

  6. I feel you Priyanka. In 2013 I was fed up with all the office politics and decided to ‘take a break’. That led me to explore other things that I love doing – but even now I haven’t joined a regular job and sometimes still feel that itch to ‘go to office’. Though not actively searching, I have been on the look out for something interesting for the past few years. Sadly no one understands why I had to take a break when I didn’t have a baby or was not dying. Many people wanting to return to work have so much rich experience….companies must consider this and see how they can utilise it. While salaries may be a little lesser than what is being given currently because of the break one takes, it is ridiculous to expect someone to start off where they left years ago.
    All the best in your search – hope you find something meaningful soon. And do continue to write, which you do so beautifully. BTW, i loved you outfit 🙂

  7. The pressure to convince them that you still exist.. I can very well relate to that. Yeah, we need to try different routes and new openings is the lesson that i learnt in the hard way.

  8. It’s never too late to start something you want to do but really it’s hard to convince them that you exist and still capable of doing well. Actually we all can relate to this. And blogging means really people think like ‘acha blogger ho, chalo timepass ke liye theek hai’ and I hate people who keep telling me that. I loved reading your post Priyanka, more power to you!!!

  9. Recruiters need to stop making a big deal about a break. I wish you all the best in your hunt. I work with a leading automotive ancillary based out of Mumbai. If you’re interested, youcan connect with me over mail to see if we can do something about this.

  10. I just melted down reading your post. This is what exists everywhere. When they see that a woman has taken a break for whatsoever reason bringing them down to base salary that they earned five years ago will not make any difference because she will readily accept it. She wants to earn and prove herself so she will take it.en and women are still not treated equally whatever front. Let it be social or economical. When salary base turns equal then v would be able to say proudly that patriarchy has vanished. Good post Priyanka. Loved each bit of it.

  11. These are great tips. It is difficult for women to get back to work after a break. And people do not see the amount of hard work it takes to be a blogger.

  12. I am in the same situation right now. In ever-changing IT industry it’s even hard to convince employers that you are capable of doing the job after a career break.

  13. Priyanka, although I somewhat get where the recruiters are coming from, it is their thick headedness that is disgusting. I have seen so many recruiters who avoid hiring on new mothers because of the whole “changed priorities” and “would have to spend time getting you up to speed”. Seriously!!. Strange enough, men who return from a career break don’t face as much an issue.

  14. That’s so true Priyanka. I am almost on the same boat. I had a very amazing mnc it job when I left it to be with my husband 4 years back. And now after the baby, I am in an existential crisis and so desperately want my worth back. I still get proposals over linkedin sometimes but as soon as I mention the gap, they just disappear. That having two cv’s for separate profile is very helpful. But yes to the corporate world, blogging still isn’t an actual job.

  15. I am a working woman but not yet a mom. Soon even I will going through the same stage and every woman who goes through it and wants to join back work a break finds herself in the dilemma as you have pointed out. The worst is our salary takes a major setback if you join back after a break of being a mom. Why is it so difficult for us! People need to change their mindset that being a mom taking a break does not mean we have lost out capability of working and a balanced work and home life can be maintained if we have adequate help from our family.

  16. This post is the need of the hour. COVID has already showed its card and so many have lost their jobs. This post will definitely help to the people who approach for a full time job after a break. Post not only explains the struggle of getting a job after a break but also lists down steps to consider.

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