THERE COMES A point when the kids are in school for most of the day and the 24/7 duties of being a mom start to wane. For some, this is an opportunity to spend more time volunteering in the school and the community. For others, it’s a time to try yoga or tennis or even train for a marathon. Others take this newfound time as an opportunity to go back to work — that is, paid work. But “getting back in” to the workforce is easier said than done. Women who have been out for a while face a host of
challenges, from explaining gaps in their resume to brushing up on advances in their industry to
negotiating for salaries comparable to what they earned before.
According to Wynn Burkett, a career and executive coach who runs “Getting Back in the
Game” workshops in Marin and San Francisco for women thinking about re-entering the
workforce after leaving to raise kids, the single biggest obstacle women face is loss of confidence.
In this story we profile six Marin women who each had to work through the process of
reinventing themselves. For some it took an intensive certification course, for others a college
degree, but they all let their intuition guide them to a new direction.
The Corporate Recruiter
Sarah Spalding, Business Talent Group
BEFORE SHE HAD KIDS, Sarah Spalding never pictured herself staying home and
doing the “P TA thing.” But when her first baby was born, everything changed.
Her job at Deloitte required that she work 10-hour-plus days at the office. She
went down to 75 percent time but was still expected to deliver 100 percent
results. After a few months back, she quit her job to be a full-time mom.
Fast-forward 10 years — three more kids and a few fulfilling years as chair for
the local PTA — and Spalding was ready to go back to work.
“I was looking for more stimulation. My kids were in school till 3 p.m. I did the
tennis thing, but then my friends started going back to work. I was looking for
something else to do.”
After a year of trying out a sales and marketing job, Spalding has returned to
what she used to do pre-kids — corporate recruiting. She works 32 hours a week for
a company called the Business Talent Group, which places independent contractors
with project-based work at Fortune 500 companies. She loves being back at work
and is earning more than what she did in her career before starting a family.
“I love the income, the stimulation and working with people. I can see myself
going to 40 hours,” she says. “Even though my work is 100 percent telecommuting,
I still feel connected. I hook up with friends and we work together in cafes.”
• Open yourself to different opportunities. Tell people, “Hey, I can help
you out,” and even be willing to work for free.
• Don’t be shy. Tell everyone you know — friends sitting next to you at
a baseball game — that you are looking for a job.
• Start slowly. See what you can handle. The more you work, the more
you will be able to take on.