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University of Washington Conversations on Careers Podcast

[Copied from Conversations on Careers Website]

My guests on this episode are the authors of Back To Business and founders of The Swing Shift Nancy Jensen and Sarah Duenwald. I am joined by my colleague Elaine Newtson for a really interesting conversation about coming back to work after taking a career pause. Nancy and Sarah's company, The Swing Shift offers women programs and services to compete in the modern job search. Their book, Back To Business: Finding Your Confidence, Embracing Your Skills, and Landing Your Dream Job After A Career Pause shares the lessons and strategies they have developed through their one-on-one and cohort based work at The Swing Shift with readers everywhere.

As I finished up production on this episode, I read in the September issue of Harvard Business Review that 57% of male and 74% of female Millennials anticipate taking a career break for childcare, eldercare or to support a partner in a job. Career pauses are becoming more common, and smart companies are developing programs to keep their employees engaged and pave the way for their eventual return to the company when they are ready.

We covered a lot of territory in the conversation, so the episode is longer than most, but I think it is worth the listen for anyone contemplating taking a break from work, or thinking about coming back from one. Graduate students certainly fall into this category. The Foster MBA program takes students out of the workplace for 22 months (with a 3 month internship in the middle) and many of the lessons from the Swing Shift apply, especially around networking and mindset.

The authors share their recommendations about activating your networking, keeping your LinkedIn profile current, staying in touch with hiring managers regardless of the outcome of the interview process, handling rejections, identifying family friendly workplaces (look for women in leadership roles, parental leave policies, executives who have kids, even pictures of families on an office desk are good indicators.) We talked about the importance of making a childcare plan if you are thinking about starting a family, or returning from work after taking a break to start one. Childcare (the difficulty finding it, and the cost of it) are some of the biggest obstacles to people returning to work.


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