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Q: Before taking three years off from my career to care for my children, I was the vice president of operations for a mid-sized company. Should I expect to take a pay cut now that I’m looking to re-establish my career?
Kristen, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Professionals often come to Mom Corps after a career gap and wonder if they’ll have to take a lower level job or less pay than what they had before they left the workforce. The answer really depends on your unique situation, but the short answer is no – you should not expect to take a pay cut just because you’ve been out of the paid workforce for a few years.
However, if you haven’t been in the workforce, haven’t maintained your network, haven’t kept up your skills and haven’t stayed current on the news and trends in your industry, then finding a position at the same level and pay you were at previously will be a challenge. That’s why I always advise people to keep a toe in the water. You never know when your situation will change, and taking a few simple, proactive measures will ensure that you are ready to re-enter the workforce whenever the time comes.
The most important action you can take for your career when you leave the workforce – whether you have a defined plan for re-entering or even if you’re not sure you’ll ever return – is to stay connected. Stay connected to old colleagues with regular lunches. Stay connected to the industry by reading industry news. Stay connected to your skills by taking on periodic projects, whether volunteer or contract work.
These connections will help you keep your resume current and answer interview questions thoroughly, and if you do that, you can re-enter the workforce in a competitive position to when you left.
Do you have a question you’d like Allison to answer? Let us know at facebook.com/momcorps.
Allison O’Kelly is founder and CEO of Mom Corps, a national professional staffing firm with a focus on flexible work. Launched in 2005, Mom Corps has helped champion the view that flexibility is a benefit to not only professionals but to the companies that employ them. Mom Corps also is helping professional women take control of their careers, finances, and health and wellness through Mom Corps YOU