dreamstime_s_20477958There is a lot of talk in the media right now about women who “Off-Ramp” and “On-Ramp” their careers after having children. Why isn’t anyone talking about “Up-Ramping?”

“Off-Ramping” implies that a woman has left the workforce entirely. She is essentially off the career track. “On-Ramping” implies that she is driving back onto the highway full-speed ahead. There are no stop or yield signs along the way.

Yet, so many of my clients want a more gradual return while their kids are young.  This is what I call “Up-Ramping.” It looks more like a dipping a toe into the water rather than fully submerging oneself. And for those who find adjustment for their family to be the greatest hurdle to career reentry, the cadence of “Up-Ramping” can be customized to fit “just right.”

Ways To “Up-Ramp” Your Career:

  • Volunteer strategically in your field of interest and do work that will tie into your future job.  Volunteering can be a great way to keep your skill sets fresh, network and find out about paid job opportunities. Before you jump into every volunteer opportunity, ask yourself “Can this position me for the next job opportunity?” If that answer is yes, jump in. If the answer is no, find another option.
  • Find some contract work. You may have to contract in an area where you have previous expertise. Contracting can keep your resume and LinkedIn Profile fresh, give you an opportunity to build your confidence, refresh your skills and get back in the game. Contracting does not mean you have to start a website or land a big job. You can start with a friend who owns a business or a start-up who needs some extra hands on deck.
  • Look at the part-time job boards.  More and more organizations are seeing the value and necessity of a part-time workforce.  As such, there are many job boards that now advertise and support those types of jobs. Some examples are www.momcorps.com, http://www.mom-entum.com, http://www.flexforceprofessionals.com and http://parttimepros.com.

Whether you are diving back in, slowing wading or dipping your toe in, make sure to find the pace that works for you and then find the resources to support that pace.