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After a family, reinvent a career

Posted in Careers, Mentor Minute

After a family, reinvent a career

Globe and Mail Careers Section, July 25 2007, page C3

Mentor Minute: Quick Career Advice from expert Katie Bennett

The Scenario

I’ve taken a five-year career break to raise my family. Now I’d like to get back into the work force. I’m not even sure I want to do what I did before. What’s your advice?

The Advice

I have been in your shoes and have many friends asking the same question. Taking time off to raise a family is the perfect time to reinvent your career. For me 11- year career in advertising that had gone satle, to a new and inspiring career in coaching.

But where to start? There are two key questions to ask:

What do you really want your life to look like?

Parenting and work, along with the other components of our lives (such as health, friends, fun, family) is a delicate balancing act. How much can you do and keep the balance?

Take the time to look at the big picture: If you could design your life perfectly right now, what would it look like? For me, the answer was found in a need to strike a balance between my two sons and my work, and it entailed starting my own part- time business, one where I could choose my hours and my clients, and leave lots of time for my kids, husband, friends, and health.

In an ideal world, do you picture yourself working full or part time, doing your own thing, working from home or going to an office? What flexibility do you need? Is income the driver, or is it simply about getting out of the house? Is it about finally pursuing a dream career that has been on hold? Getting clear on the big picture will help to set the stage for your next career move.

What work do you want to do?

This can be the exciting part. I can’t tell you how many of my friends (most of us in our early 40’s) are now doing something new, something that wasn’t even on the radar screen before children. All of these powerful women took the time to answer that question.

Look for something that aligns with your values, gets your gut tingling with excitement, and really calls you forth. There is nothing worse than doing something you hate while feeling guilty about not being with your kids. Find something you are passionate about.

Katie Bennett is head of Double Black Diamond Coaching in Vancouver.

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