Returning to work after a career break

Whatever the reason for choosing to take a career break, for most people there comes a time when they have to think about returning to work.

That prospect can be daunting for some, especially as job markets and technology change. It can help to proactively plan ahead for those first days and weeks back on the job.

Planning your return

Planning your return to work in advance with both your manager and family can help make the transition easier and less intimidating. 

Whether you’re feeling anxious or excited about the return, you might want to think about:

Consider a ‘returnship’

A returnship is a return-to-work program designed to support employees looking to restart their careers after an extended break. 

It can be either a formal arrangement with tasks and milestones, or a more casual agreement. 

Whether formal or casual, such programs usually:

  • last a few weeks or select days across several months
  • typically offer pro-rata payment for time spent at work.

If this appeals to you, talk to your workplace about the possibility of a returnship. The benefits of programs like it include:

  • restoring and boosting confidence (if it’s lacking)
  • allaying any fears or anxiety you may have 
  • rebuilding networks and personal connections
  • sharpening old skills and learning new ones
  • redefining career goals and professional development options.

How to plan your transition back to work

Whatever your reason for taking extended leave from work, there is good news: your transition back to work doesn't need to be difficult.

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