The world is changing. Advances in technology are altering the way we work, shop, relax and train. Societal values have also gone through a transformation and we see this clearly in the number of fathers deciding to stay at home to raise their children.
The pathway back into finance jobs is not always easy, especially as personal stigma and stereotypes are stubbornly persistent. Successfully returning to work demands mental toughness and the ability to influence young recruiters that you can still do month-end even with a few years out of the market.
The difficulties of dads returning to work
Raising children is one of the most rewarding activities a parent can do. While it is filled with dirty nappies, screaming tantrums and spilled milk, interspersed among these are a myriad of happy, worthwhile and justifiable moments. Be it the first time they walk or say their first word, the list is almost endless.
There are roughly 4.6 million fathers currently living in Australia. Figures from the McCrindle Research show that there are around 144,000 stay-at-home dads in the country and this number is only expected to grow.
Women have done well in paving a “return to employment” confidence and have earned their right to demand what they deserve after having time off with kids. This is a new challenge for return-to-work dads, as they face the judgment from those who have not walked a day in their shoes.
Does accounting really change? Does having time out of work really slow you? Or this their just judgment from an employer’s market?
Mapping your networks
Unlike the avenues and programmes accessible to women, men have relatively little resources to fall back on as the concept of a stay-at-home dad is relativity new. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review has illuminated some of the ways fathers can overcome the obstacles that challenge their reentry into the workforce.
The author’s husband, having taken time off work to look after their children, was finding it hard to find work. After dabbling in depressing volunteer work, he was about to give up. Yet, the PhD trained molecular biologist found that once he tapped into his expansive network of contacts he was able to identify a role teaching biology, chemistry, and biochemistry.
The morale of the story is that young recruiters won’t find you a job, your network, values, history, wisdom and trust will.
The takeaway then for stay-at-home dads looking to return to work is that they need access to a wide-range of professional contacts. This network is essential for finding and capitalising on opportunities. If you are planning on taking some time out, future proof your career by networking and staying abreast on what’s happening in your industry. This will provide you the doors you need when the time comes to re-enter the workforce.
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