Our first guest post on The Hivery blog comes from one of our amazing Hivery members, Laura Riordan Ph.D. who is a holistic life coach that helps her clients find balance and meaningful success. Laura will be the facilitator for the first part of our Back To Work Workshop Series happening on Wednesday, July 26th 10 am - 12.00 pm. Laura will be explaining how to align your goals when considering reentering the workforce.
In this guest post she shares some questions to ask yourself, an exercise you can do, and a 3-step process to get the ball rolling!
Thinking About Going Back to Work?
Do you want to go back to work with purpose? Do you want to have more meaningful work show up in your life? If you answer yes to either of these questions, it is important to start with Why.
Why you want to work will dictate where you look for work.
Are you seeking connection, fulfillment, recognition or income?
Consider the following diagram*
Money: At the base of this transformational job pyramid is the level of Job. Job = Money.
Sometimes we just plain need to work to provide for our basic needs. If this is where you are, then embrace this phase and know that you are looking for a job.
Recognition: Next we have the level of career. Career = Recognition. Many women reenter the workforce to find more recognition for their daily work than they find at home. A career gives you a sense of belonging to a particular field or industry and an office environment further instills a sense of community.
Meaning: Finally, at the top of the transformational pyramid is passionate work. Purposeful, passionate Work = Meaning. This work is simply the action of your true nature. It is an expression of you and will feel easeful and joyful. Children engage in purposeful work all the time with passion and inspiration. When you give a child a meaningful task they often rise to the occasion and are pleased with their result. This pleasure comes from the inside, not external rewards. They are working because they are a part of the family and a larger society. This “meaningful work” mindset is what we need to engage when we think about returning to work or creating new opportunities. With meaningful work on the horizon, try thinking through these next three steps to create your strategy for reentering the workforce:
Step 1 - Define Your Terms
The first step in going back to work on your terms is to define those terms. Start by carving out some uninterrupted time and get specific and creative with your terms. Imagine a time when you felt empowered and engaged with your work. You can reach as far back as childhood or perhaps a recent project to find a time when you felt a sense of flow and all other things seemed to fall away. When you are immersed in this sense of flow, ask yourself the following questions:
- What does you ideal day look like?
- What is your ideal work environment?
- Who do you want to work with/for/in service of?
- Are you more inspired working in a group of people or by yourself?
- Do you prefer working in a natural setting or a posh office?
- What kind of time commitment are you interested in?
- How much flexibility to you need and want?
- How far are you willing to commute?
- Do you want to work on projects or a contract basis?
Defining your terms before you go back to work will help you to practice creating your future from the inside out. The more specific you are in defining your ideal work situation, the more successful you will be in attaining it. This is not to say that the perfect environment will appear as soon as you define it, but it will give you a roadmap for what you are looking for. For me, my terms and environment, and what truly inspires me is in working for myself, but surrounded by other vibrant women in a space like The Hivery.
Step 2 - Activate Your Network
The next step in reentering the workforce is to activate your network. Spread the word about your intentions to go back to work with emphasis on your terms. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you intend to work part-time or from home. If you are feeling a bit lost, start by identifying with a few role models. Who are the people that you know that work and have a balanced personal and family life? I like to think of these role models in the context of masters and apprentices. Seek out two or three of these masters and undertake an informal apprenticeship. Invite them to lunch or a play date and ask them how they balance everything. Women love to help each other and masters love to teach (again, The Hivery can be a valuable resource for this stage).
Step 3 - Update Your Skills
Finally, you may need to update your skills or get the training and education you need to be competitive in the marketplace. This initial outlay of time and money may create an invaluable path to reentering a career. This choice demonstrates that you are committed to your field and to yourself. As you put yourself out there through training and networking, you are more likely to attract the kind of job that will fulfill your needs.
Defining your terms, activating your network and updating your skills will give you a strategy for reentering the workforce. However, it's easy to feel isolated or get stuck along this journey to finding purposeful work in the right environment.
The Hivery is a great place to meet other women cultivating what's next for them, and many of our members are contemplating going back to work, or exploring different career options. If you would like to discover women on a similar path to you, please join us for The Hivery's Back To Work workshop series:
on: Wednesday July 29th, 10.00 am - 12.00pm.
AND/OR, join us for one or all three parts of the series:
Setting Yourself up for a Back-to-Work Plan (with a focus on time and environment). Led by Megan Flatt. August 5th, 10.00 am- 12.00 pm
Personal Branding: How to Communicate Who You Are + What You Do. Led by Grace Kraaijvanger. August 12th, 10.00 am- 12.00 pm
Laura Riordan, Ph.D. is a holistic life coach who helps her clients find balance and meaningful success. Laura’s coaching practice evolved from the understanding that people need a guide to help identify their meaningful work, ground aha moments and give accountability and infrastructure to make lasting changes. Laura leverages her Ph.D. to help her clients find bigger versions of themselves and her strategic and practical skills to create a roadmap to get there.