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Going Back to Work When You’re in Your 40s

Thank you to guest blogger May Reid-Well for this insightful and timely post.

Ever try resurrecting a career after a long, long break?

We need you
I had thought about picking my career up where I left off ever since my youngest started school. It was back-to-work or join the other mammies for playdates. I love my children but watching little Keefra dribble organic smoothie down their chin, while his mother eulogizes the benefits of kale, notachance.com.
First Steps
Pre-marriage and kids, I had a promising career in publishing. I loved it, but a sneaky, relentless recession and childcare costs conspired to put a halt to my career gallop. Now I was ready to return to the workforce; employers you’re welcome. Building on my skills, I re-educated, reskilled and retrained and was ready to forge a path in a new career – technology management.

With my trademark enthusiasm, I was the mam with the plan. Send awesome CV, get great job, work, promotion, awards, regain success and status, inspire my babies to greatness. I decided a generic CV and cover letter emailed to as many employers was that mornings project. Two weeks later I was ready to hit send.

The Waiting Game
I waited and waited and nothing. I followed up with a few “did you get my email?” type emails.

I waited and waited and got one reply from a pleasant, but to the point HR guy. It was not a job offer, it was my first PFO (please fx@k off) email, that wrapped some sage advice. It went something like this:Thank you for taking an interest in our company, blah, blah. We are not recruiting, blah, blah. Some other words. Very competitive market, blah, blah.

And then the line that took my coffee breath away; “It might be worth considering having your CV professionally done”.

Death by Hubris
What did he mean, in terms of computer skills I was closer to Bill Gates than Jessica Fletcher? Thankfully, I have a friend who always sided with me. She agreed that he was completely insane not offer me a job on the spot but would read my CV anyway.

And then she spotted it, the error in my magnum opus. An omission that forever reminds me that I have a weakness. I call this an UNDO moment because if I could, I would. The word ‘public’, used repeatedly throughout, was spelt without the ‘L’. Spellcheck, you are not an ally.

I reverted to using my maiden name and resent all the emails. Different name, reduced shame.

What now?
Transitioning from everyone’s everything to employee extraordinaire, was not the simple strut I imagined. In my absence, the job market had evolved, morphed into a stranger. Virtual connections replaced shoe leather and printed, bound and posted CVs where replaced by online portfolios. But I persist. If someone asks, as I’m sure at some point someone will, ‘When will you give up?’, I will look them straight in the eye and say, ‘lotto win’.

I decided to document my journey in the blog www.facebook.com/theanxiousjobhunter. This is a blog of lessons I have learned along the way – even the ones I wish I could erase from my memory. You might find them beneficial or you might just be glad you’re not me.
© Copyright 2018 – May Reid-Well – All Rights Reserved

Hi, I’m a forty(ish), fit(ish), fed up female.
After a career break (two children long) I decided to resurrect a once blossoming career in publishing. Even though, I held a variety of part-time roles – from healthcare to sales – picking up where I left off proved easier in theory than in practice. While I have attended a ridiculous number of interviews my Holy Grail of jobs has proved an elusive lover. To ease the sting of multiple rejections I decided to start a blog; it was cheaper than a therapist.

May Reid-Well

Please feel free to contact me:
Website: www.theanxiousjobhunter.com
Email: theanxiousjobhunter@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theanxiousjobhunter
Twitter: @anxiousjobhunt
Instagram: theanxiousjobhunter

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