If today is the day you put your out-of-office on, ready for a week or so of festive fun, rest and relaxation (and maybe a little overdoing it too), going back to work after New Year will be the last thing on your mind – but that first day back will be here before you know it.
And that first day back is always fraught with anxiety – there’s every chance you’ll struggle to get up and out on time, and will continue to struggle through the rest of the day as you try to find your way back into some sort of routine. So imagine how tough it must be to to get back into the swing of things after an even bigger break, such as maternity leave, a career break or a long illness?
Here’s how to get back to work…
Keep yourself in the loop
If you take a break from work, for whatever reason, the temptation can be to completely switch off from what’s going on in your industry – but in doing so, you could be putting yourself at a massive disadvantage if and when you ever decide to go back to your old career.
So, wherever possible, keep an eye on the news and any industry-related blogs and social media accounts to keep yourself in the loop to make sure there are no new developments that could take you by surprise when you go back to your old job or start applying for new ones.
It also helps to keep in touch with colleagues while you’re away, to both maintain friendships and keep yourself in people’s thoughts for when you do eventually return to work.
Plug those gaps in your CV
There’s nothing inherently wrong with having gaps in your CV, you just need to make sure you can fill in the blanks with valid reasons, and maybe even use the time out to your professional advantage – a year spent travelling, for instance, could involve you learning a new language or improving your communication skills, both of which look great on any CV.
If, on the other hand, you’ve taken time out to look after children, or because of a redundancy, just be up front and honest with any prospective employers – if you’re the right candidate for the job, there’s no reason why these reasons should be seen in a negative light.
Getting back to work
If your looking to return to work after a period of ill health, take things slowly when you first get back and make sure your employer knows of any limitations – rushing headlong back into a busy schedule can serve up a shock to the system that could quickly send you back to your sick bed.
It could be worth negotiating going back to work part time, or doing some days at home to ease yourself back into things. And make sure you have a strong support network around you, both at home and in the office, particularly if you also have children to look after as well.
If you’ve not got a job to go back to, you’ll have to take the initiative and get in touch with prospective employers and recruitment agencies to see what suitable positions are available. And if you’re looking for a complete career change, be prepared to have to start at lower level than you’re used to and work your way up.