career

“After 10 years out of the workforce, I needed a confidence boost to get back in.’’

Back to Work Roadmap
Thanks to our brand partner, Back to Work Roadmap

After studying communications at university and enjoying a ten year career in marketing and PR, I was taking maternity leave from my role as a public relations officer. 

It was 2010 and I was excited but nervous about becoming a mum. I hoped to take just 12 months out of the workforce before jumping back in where I left off. 

Fast forward a whole decade and I would have been shocked to learn that I have only just made my way back in.

The truth of it is, life got in the way of my career.  

Firstly, I had my newborn baby and life as a new mum to wrap my head around, then we moved internationally twice in three years. I began freelance writing to fill the creative void, and to bridge the gap between my first and imagined second child.  

But when my husband became unwell and I suffered three miscarriages in a row, my career ‘gap year’ got longer and longer.

We had many happy times in-between the sadness and loss, and when I finally had my second son in 2017, a whole seven years had passed from my initial maternity leave.  

By this stage, my confidence to re-enter the workforce was in tatters. 

Office life had changed beyond recognition and I felt old, tired, and completely unsure of who I was now that I was a mum of two little boys. 

Image: Supplied.

The Back to Work Roadmap for Mothers is exactly what I wish I had to help me find myself after motherhood. 

This six week online live program, designed by career coach and lady startup Diana Cregan, helps women to rediscover who they are so they can reconnect with their professional identity.

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After having her own family, Diana realised there was a big gap in the market for supporting women in this way. Her unique program is designed specifically for women wanting to rebuild their confidence and hope for the future. 

The program includes lifetime access to the material (six modules, 37 lessons with worksheets, scripts, activities), weekly live coaching and Q&A sessions and the opportunity for ongoing coaching and support with Diana.

The fact she also used to be a recruitment consultant is really helpful - she really does get it! She provides practical and actionable strategies to help you land your dream career.

My dream job has always been to find secure employment as a writer, but back in 2017 after spending years as a freelancer, I couldn’t really see a way to move forward. 

I enjoyed freelance work and having a flexible lifestyle, but I felt I had lost my ‘workplace-ready’ skills and the confidence to apply for anything more permanent. 

The longer I remained a freelancer, the gaps in my resume became longer and while I could account for them with valid reasons, they weren’t reasons I thought an employer would want to hear. 

Image: Supplied.

It all felt too hard and it became something of a vicious cycle. 

Career Coach Diana Cregan says that a big part of it is reconnecting with our professional identity and finding that lost self-confidence again.

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"When we've been out of the workforce, we have also removed ourselves from all the ways we measure ourselves (in a professional capacity) and so we feel like we're in a vacuum. 

“We've nothing to benchmark ourselves against and so we start to tell ourselves that all those old skills and strengths aren't relevant anymore. But they are! It's just understanding how and why they are still relevant.”

While I remained out of the permanent workforce, I decided to take on a volunteer board member position at the Newcastle Writers Festival. It felt like a manageable way to engage with my local creative community and get some of my confidence back. 

Through a chance encounter at a writer’s festival event, I made a connection with a journalist and lecturer at The University of Newcastle. 

In 2019, through my new creative network, I managed to secure a casual role as a university tutor that helped me to see myself back in the workforce. It was something I could also fit in around family commitments and gave me a renewed sense of purpose.

I learnt so much by standing in front of classrooms of students, and the feedback I got from them helped me to see that I still had plenty of skills worth using! 

With COVID sending many of us online in 2020, I also began to see that the traditional way we work was changing. Many workplaces that were physically out of reach from my home in the regional city of Newcastle, were opening up to me as more people began working from home. 

In April 2021 I saw a short-term contract role advertised at Mamamia, and for the first time I considered I could be a legitimate applicant. I decided that the time was right for me to attempt to pivot towards my dream career.

However, as I filled out the application form I really struggled with imposter syndrome. I felt too old, too far away from the city and lacking in recent or relevant experience. 

I kept thinking; why would they want to hire me? 

But I dug deep and used my new-found confidence as a university tutor combined with my experience in the freelance space, to figure out what I wanted. 

I took a leap of faith and applied for the role and was lucky enough to succeed. I was thrilled that at 42 years old, I could still make inroads into achieving my career dreams!

As my contract role at Mamamia comes to an end, I am ready to start the next phase and for the first time in a long time I feel excited about what the future holds for my career.

If you're itching to get back to the workforce but need a confidence boost, visit Back to Work Roadmap for Mothers here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Back to Work Roadmap
The Back to Work Roadmap for Mothers is for mothers who are ready for Ground Hog Day to stop and the next chapter begin! They paused their careers to stay home to raise their family and are now looking for purpose beyond their role as mother. Thinking about going back to work can be overwhelming for mothers but they don't have to stay stuck! It's a process and it starts with a chat with me. As an ex recruitment consultant and career coach, I know exactly the steps to take and traps to avoid. For an exclusive offer for MamaMia readers and to learn more, click here