Easing the Workforce Re-entry
Dec 9, 2015
Job seekers can use the transition to identify new areas of passion
By Rebecca Mayer Knutsen
Landing a job after time spent parenting or caregiving can be surprisingly challenging for many job seekers. Depending on the length of the absence and the expectations of the person, opportunities may be scarce.
You may find that the job you comfortably occupied before the lapse either doesn’t exist anymore or is out of your reach. You may no longer possess the skills needed to get the job done or may not be able to devote the same number of hours or level of commitment.
You are not alone. Statistics point to a fairly large population of parents who put work on hold to raise children before again testing the professional waters. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that just 63.9% of moms with kids younger than 6 years and 56.5% of moms with infants are in the workforce.
Nearly 65 million caregivers in the U.S. are providing care for aging parents, spouses and adult children with disabilities. While many of these caregivers work out of necessity, about one-third stay home full time with their loved ones.
Being out of the workforce for long periods can alter one’s idea of work and uncover new areas of interest. Many find that transitioning back to the workforce is a good time to pursue a new degree or to become certified in a new skill. Following a newfound passion may be just what it takes to ease the difficult transition.
After taking care of her grandmother until she passed, Melissa Dunn of Yuma, Ariz., re-entered the workforce on her own terms: She bought an in-home care franchise. Although she formerly worked in the mortgage industry, Dunn always had an affinity for the elderly and decided she could make a difference doing something she was more passionate about: caregiving. Dunn and her husband Rob own SYNERGY HomeCare of Yuma.
“After caring for my grandmother, I wondered how many people out there didn’t have someone like me,” she recalled. “What if someone didn’t have children, grandchildren or anyone close to them who could help take care of them? I’m a caregiver by nature and have always wanted to help everyone, especially seniors.”
Although the agency does not deliver medical care, the care managers oversee the client’s care by providing transportation, scheduling medical appointments and monitoring clients’ adherence to medical orders and instructions, including reminders to take medications and exercise as directed by a healthcare provider.
The skilled caregivers are trained to address special dietary needs for conditions like diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, which can be managed using strict shopping guidelines and proper food preparation.
By following her interests, Dunn has carved out an entirely new career that is both fulfilling and meaningful. “I always wondered how I could find those people and help them, and now it’s a passion that has become my whole life,” Dunn said.