Your get out clause - Contracting as a Way Back to Work

In this great Telegraph articleread about the amount of internships and return to work programmes there are out in the marketplace. 

Remember, you were a risk-taker who took the plunge left the workforce for while (and that is another competency; a string to your bow to discuss in interview); probably to align yourself with values other than work that were important to you. WELL DONE YOU. 

You think about coming back and you encounter, either real or imagined, the triple whammy of gender bias, age and a percieved skills gap. 

When I returned to work after seven years  out, I took a fixed term contract just so that my employer could suss me out. See if I could do what I said on the tin.

Although a little uncertain because I couldn't commit to long-term childcare, and I initially committed to five days per week (I now do four including one from home) it worked out brilliantly for a few reasons:

1) I wasn't sure if I was going to like it; I joined a professional services partnership looking after their partner recruitment. I had no clue how a partnership worked or the complexities of both attracting, and encouraging exisiing partners to sign on the dotted line for talent, thereby reducing their own profit pool. At times, a hard sell.

2) It gave me a natural break point at six months; where we could all take a view on if it was still working. Had it not, there would have been no difficult conversations, just the completion of terms.

3) It gave me leverage. I was able to demonstrate my wares; clearly only sharpened by my time out dealing with 1000567 competing priorities being the MD of my household and full-time parent. By the time I threatened to leave with my brain trust; they needed to pay me 15% more to keep me.

4) When I expanded of course I had only organised childcare for six months as that is all the company had committed to. Therefore I had to take time out to arrange a more permanent setup for doing the school run, therefore I had to take a few weeks out before returning, therefore I had to have a few weeks in France with the children over school holidays, before I rejoined the company as a permanent person. So, more money, time out, and holiday without having to put in a holiday form.....just saying.....

So I would seriously think about going in short term. Reduce your rate for a bit if that feels right to you. Build your personal brand back up. Remember why you were good. Then go in and negotiate. More on negotiation tips in another post!

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