Job Tips

How mums can rejoin the workforce - and thrive

Parenthood offers a world of training in psychology, time management and diplomacy

The Straits Times - August 13, 2012
How mums can rejoin the workforce - and thrive
  • You're a homemaker eager to return to the job circuit, full-time or otherwise. But you're unsure if you can juggle the dual roles, and where do you start?

IF YOU'RE waiting to be inspired while combing through job listings, look at Ms Marissa Mayer, 37, the recently appointed chief executive of struggling technology giant Yahoo.

Ms Mayer, a former Google executive, was six months pregnant when she was offered the top job, making her the 19th female chief executive, half of whom have children, of a Fortune 500 firm.

Artfully juggling a home and career is tough. Don't believe anyone who claims to have found a perfect way to do it. There is none, but you can adjust.

If you're looking for more motivation to re-enter the workforce, here is a piece of good news.

Studies show those endless school and doctor runs build up work stamina. Cajoling your child to scoff down french beans hones your engagement skills.

And preparing a well-balanced dinner while making sure school uniforms are washed and ironed polishes your multitasking and time-management abilities.

A May survey by Korn/Ferry Institute revealed that parenthood offers a world of training in psychology, time management and diplomacy - highly applicable skills in business.

On their part, employers in Singapore have warmed up to hiring homemakers, to further tap the talent pool.

"While job opportunities may not be abundant, employers are beginning to be more receptive towards hiring housewives," says Mr Josh Goh of recruitment firm The GMP Group.

No doubt, technology has helped to play a crucial role in helping women carry out the dual roles of an executive and a parent.

The hurdles are high - you're not just competing with other mothers like yourself, but also with single women, men and retirees.

There are a few things you can do to ease your return to a career or land yourself a job.

First, find a reliable caregiver for junior. Then stand back a little and let them help.

Use social media creatively - not hard to do in this era of "social-media moms". Spruce up your resume, post it on LinkedIn and online job portals and announce your intentions on Facebook or blogs.

Attend personal development courses, talks or seminars as they serve as a good networking base for job referrals, says Mr Goh.

Start your first day back at work some time in the mid-week - a shorter work week for starters may reduce anxiety.

The initial days will be bumpy.

"Give yourself time to adjust to the new environment, maintain communication lines with the supervisor and divvy up the work so that it's manageable," suggests Mr Goh.

And oh yes, let go of the guilt of not being a stay-at-home mother. Learn to deal with it and recognise that it is only natural if you can never feel completely at ease having someone else care for your child while you are at work.

Take that leap of faith.