A professional vision can smooth the transition back into the workplace after parental leave, and help you to achieve your personal and career goals, writes Grace Papers Coach & Facilitator, Amanda Meehan.
For many women, the decision to return to work after having a child centres around how many days they’d like to work rather than what they actually want their role to entail.
When this happens, and women don’t communicate their professional vision and ambitions, and assumptions will likely be made on their behalf which can limit the opportunities open to them on their return and in the future.
The conversations you have with your manager transitioning to parental leave, and when you return to work after parental leave are pivotal in establishing whether, as a working mother, you want a job or a career.
Why can it be hard to transition back into the workplace?
Transitioning back into the workplace after parental leave is no mean feat, and can present a stumbling block which can have repercussions throughout your working life.
According to a recent study published in the Sydney Morning Herald, there has been a rise in ‘mumpreneurs’, women opting to become selfemployed after having children. The survey provides a sobering insight into the difficulties women face when returning to the workplace: two-thirds of women interviewed said that inflexible work schedules, poor quality part-time jobs, and discriminatory attitudes towards part-time and flexible workers were the main reasons for choosing to go self-employed.
As such, pregnancy is perhaps one of the most important times for women to invest time in thinking about what they want from their careers and developing a professional vision that will stand them in good stead when transitioning back into the workplace.
What is a professional vision?
A professional vision is a grown up way of answering the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up and why?’ It’s a bit like a career navigation system, anchoring you to your values and your family’s priorities, while still enabling you to stay true to the dream of what your career could look like.
Since having my first baby, I’ve used my professional vision to stay focused on my long term goals and perform work that energises me. It reminds me of the reasons why I work, and has helped me to negotiate the flexibility me and my family needs without compromising on the sort of work I do.
It takes a lot of effort to be a working mother, so why not ensure you’re spending your time doing something that reflects your talent, experience and passion?
How to set a professional vision
There is a technique to setting a professional vision – here are some tips to get you started.
- Give yourself the space and time to reflect on your career to date.
- Imagine what you want for your career, for your family and for yourself. It can be a pretty daunting task so don’t be afraid to look for help! The Grace Papers platform can, for example, guide you right through this process.
- Then, map this against your key life values.
- Work with a coach to refine and create a vision that is practical, actionable and authentic.