Returning to work: First steps

*contributed collaborative post

There are many reasons you may have had a period out of work. Whatever the underlying cause, when it is time to return you are likely going to have to be mindful of how you make that transition.

Most people will find that it is a little stressful returning to work , and will probably be keen to try and find a way to approach it which takes away much of the stress, as well as improving your likelihood of doing it well.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find a way to do this, so long as you are happy to think about it long and hard to begin with and feel confident and comfortable with your decisions.

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Are You Really Ready?

The first thing you will want to look into is working out whether or not you are truly ready to return to work. If you are anything less than one hundred percent certain, then this is going to negatively affect your chances of success, and you will find that it is psychologically much harder to countenance. But it’s difficult to know how you are actually meant to work out whether or not you are ready, and that alone is something that can take up a lot of your time. One of the most important things here is to pay attention to your instincts – if you feel that you are likely not going to enjoy the work or that you are not ready, then it’s almost certainly not time. Also, make sure you have your life set up in a way which will actually mean you are going to be able to make the most of your return to work. If you do this, it will all be much easier to do.

Choosing A Job

It’s one of the more difficult decisions you will have to make, and yet it’s clearly the most important as well. In order to know what job you are going to want to apply for, you have to understand what kind of work you like to do, as well as what you think you have a good chance of being successful at. That being said, you should always be ready to go above what you have done in the past, and often this will actually make for a much more enjoyable time on the whole too. Choosing your job should be something that you put a lot of effort into, so that you can be sure you are going to end up with something you can really love.

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One good way to approach this is to think about what kind of personal qualities you have. If you struggle here, ask those close to you to list a few. That will give you a strong idea of what kind of work you are likely to lean towards. If you need further help here, consider trying to get in touch with a career counsellor too. All in all, it will hopefully not take you too long to be able to choose a job you are likely to fully enjoy. Then you know that you are ready to start looking for one.

Getting Qualifications

Not all jobs require qualifications, of course, but regardless you will still want to make sure that you are making it as likely as possible you will get any job you go for – and that usually means gaining some kind of extra education and getting some learning under your belt.

What qualifications you want to go for will depend on what work you are going for, of course, but there are many which apply generally across a number of types of work as well. For instance, if you are looking to have some kind of a management role, then you will absolutely always benefit from something like an online master of business administration, no matter what kind of industry or business you will be joining.

Qualifications are a great stepping stone before you return to work, partly because they give you more of a chance to get a job, but also because it gets you back into the mode of full-time work.

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Starting Part-Time

If it has been a long time since you were last in work, you might find it something of a shock to go straight into full-time work. You might therefore want to consider starting out in a part-time position for a while first, so that you can gradually get back into the experience of working day after day. Of course, it may not be financially viable to work only part-time for very long, but nonetheless it is something that you should consider, especially if you are a little worried about how you will cope with full-time work. If nothing else, it will help you to appreciate what you should be doing to get back into work in the first place, and you will find it is a good way to ease back into the world of work. Even better if you can find a part-time job in the industry or business that you are hoping to end up in.

Communicate With Your Manager

When you do return to work, there are many good reasons to make a point of being as communicative with your manager as you can be. The more that you communicate, the more likely it is that they will understand should you have any problems, and might even help you actively to get through it. Whereas, if you fail to speak to them, you might instead find that they are not quite as keen to help you out, and this could mean that you end up in trouble in the future. It is much better to be honest, even if that means that you are having to be honest about your fears and difficulties in the job.

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