Small Business Brief


New Beginnings: 7 Tips for Going Back to Work After a Long Absence

Have you been out of work for a while? A little scared to go back? 

That’s okay. 

A long break from the workforce can totally rearrange your professional identity. There are plenty of solid reasons to leave work, but most of us end up coming back to the professional world after our absence. 

Going back to work can be stressful, even anxiety-inducing, in many cases. 

It’s important to have a game plan for reentry because it’s a significant event, even if it seems like a harmless thing from an outside perspective. We’re going to take a look at a few things you can do when returning to the workforce, giving yourself a leg up on your emotions boosting workplace happiness. 

Hopefully, the ideas below can carry you through your first few weeks and keep you on the right track. Let’s get started.

1. Refresh Your Resume

If you’re switching careers at 50 after taking a long break and working in a different industry for years, you need to freshen up your resume. Even though the data might be the same, the way you format your resume says a lot. It’s easy to tell the difference between a resume from 1990 and one from 2022. 

Further, you can add significant life events to your resume. For example, the fact that you spent the last few years hiking the Appalachian Trail might work very well for you in your job search, even though that’s not a formal work experience. 

In any case, try working with a professional who can polish your resume to meet the demands of the modern hiring committee. Sydney Resumes is a great place to get professional help with your resumes and interviews. 

2. Check Your Emotional Health

You’ve been out of the workforce for a significant period of time, presumably recovering from an injury or working on yourself in different ways. The last thing you want to do is erase that progress when you return to work.

Part of understanding how to switch careers is knowing which professions benefit you emotionally and which ones suck you dry. You’ll only know for sure when you’re working a job, and you can tell what it does to you. 

So, keep tabs on how you feel as you start reentry. Are you more anxious? Depressed?

Does your job benefit your emotional life? The answers to these questions make a big difference in your quality of life. No more are the days when “working” meant “suffering.”

3. Do Some Part-Time Work to Start

If you’re not ready to dive all the way back in, consider taking a part-time job in your field. The pandemic has opened up a lot of outsourcing and remote work in almost every field, showing us that a lot of the work we do doesn’t require a full-time position. 

A few part-time remote jobs here and there might help to ease your mind back into the idea of working. Those jobs will spruce up your resume as well. 

4. Tap Into Your Old Networking Skills

Think back to your working days and ask yourself which people might have leads on good jobs. 

Maybe you don’t have to start from square one. The people you know might have insights into great opportunities that would put you in great fruitful work environments. Instead of training and going through the onboarding process in a big company, you might be able to meet up with an old friend, fill a position, and join a tight-knit team. 

5. Consider a Course

If you’re switching careers at 40 or 50, community courses or college courses are worth considering. Even a small investment into a short course shows companies that you’re engaging with the new career path. 

You’ll learn some new skills and show businesses that you’re serious about taking your career in a new direction. 

6. Don’t Jump In

One of the beautiful things about finding jobs on the internet is that you truly never know what you’ll find. 

You might see an encyclopedia of mundane, soul-sucking jobs for two days followed by three weeks of job listings that spark your soul and get you excited. The moral of the story here is that you don’t have to take the first thing that comes your way. 

Wait a while and use different job boards to conduct your search. There are numerous jobs out there that you’re qualified for and will make you happy. You might just have to adjust your idea of what you want to do!

A month or two on the internet will certainly give you a lot to work with. 

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Depending on the length of your absence, you might be a totally different person when you go back to work. You’ve learned a lot, you’ve changed, and maybe you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be on the daily grind. 

Whatever “human nature” might be, it certainly doesn’t involve sitting at a desk for 2,000 hours per year and worrying about the tidiness of your necktie. It’s understandable to be a little anxious or uncomfortable with the workplace. 

If your job isn’t making you happy and you feel like you’re not succeeding, give yourself a break. Maybe it’s not the job for you, or maybe the job isn’t for anyone. 

In that situation, there’s no shame in having problems with the particular job or type of work that you’re doing. In fact, it’s healthy to reflect on that fact and think about making some changes. 

Like we said earlier, there are millions of jobs out there on the internet. Many of them can be done from the comfort of your own home, and, statistically speaking, a number of them should line up with your values and make you happy. 

Going Back to Work Soon?

Going back to work after a long break requires some thought and planning. It’s stressful, but it’s helpful to get some more information that could be helpful. It never hurts to get a few perspectives on your new life change. 

Whatever your next step is, keep the information we discussed in mind. Stay compassionate to yourself, ease in, and learn something new!

We’re here to help. Explore our site for more ideas on finding work, managing your lifestyle, staying fit, finances, and more.