Q: I worked as a paraeducator for the past five years with a local school district because the part-time schedule mirrored my children's...

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Q: I worked as a paraeducator for the past five years with a local school district because the part-time schedule mirrored my children’s school schedule.


When my kids are older, I want to return to work.


Will it really be possible to start my career over?


A: Yes, despite what you’ve probably heard about being “mommy-tracked,” many people restart their careers after taking time off to raise their children.


You’ve already taken the first step I’d suggest, which is to stay engaged in the business world in a part-time or volunteer capacity.


It keeps your skills fresh and your confidence level high.


Next, as your kids become more independent, target whom you want to work for and where you want to work.


Ask yourself the following questions:


1. As the boss: What would I need in my ideal employee?


2. Again, as the boss: What critical problems is my company facing?


3. How can I get the experience necessary to appeal to a future boss and solve the problems my future company might experience?


4. How can I personally connect with people who could be my future bosses or people who work for my future company?


Now, let your creativity run wild and don’t be stopped by worries about looking foolish, being rejected or taking a nontraditional approach to job hunting.


Keep in mind that no organization will worry about whether you look silly in going after a job with them.


Organizations and employers are only interested in whether you can help them make money or solve the problems they have.


You’re wise to realize that child-rearing is a time-limited opportunity that is precious.


You’re also wise to realize that if you do a good job with your kids, they’ll grow up and fire you.


By making a plan now about how to use your “retirement” from child-rearing, you, your children and your future employer all benefit.


The last word(s)


Q: I’m tired all the time. Do you think it could be my job?


A: Not unless your job keeps you from going to bed.


Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube