If You Took 5 or More Years off Work and Successfully Returned to the Workforce, I Want to Hear Your Story

by Evil HR Lady on September 7, 2017

I’m looking for stories of people who successfully returned to the workforce after taking a long time period off. The reason you left is fairly irrelevant, although I assume most people–male and female–will have left to stay home with the little darlings.

If you have a story to tell, leave a comment or send me an email at EvilHRLady@gmail.com.

Please feel free to shar

e this with your friends who may have a story.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy September 7, 2017 at 2:47 pm

I received my MSW in 1996 and worked as a Social Worker for several years. I was able to keep working part time through two pregnancies. After my youngest was born my Mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and I was traveling back and forth from Philly to NYC regularly to care for her. Between caring for my young children and my Mother I chose to give up my part-time job.

I was a stay at home Mom and taught Yoga for 11 years. In 2014 I got divorced and discovered that my ex husband had a tax debt (in both of our names) of half a million dollars.

I clearly needed to build a new career path ASAP. I put the word out and started to look. My friend told me that her friend was looking for a “non-traditional” HR Manager. I met with the CEO of my company and he was looking for someone with people skills, confidence and someone who wasn’t afraid of “tough’ conversations. I was hired as the company’s first HR Manager. It’s been all about learning on the job and relying on my skill set. Three years later the company has almost doubled in size. I’m engaged and excited by the work that I do and forever grateful that my CEO was able to see my true skills and the value I would come to bring to the company.

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the gold digger September 7, 2017 at 3:37 pm

I was laid off from my job right before I met my husband. I looked, but was not finding anything new.

I did temp work, including a stint as a clerk in Macy’s Better Women’s Sportswear (which I hated, but it’s better than no money) in the interim.

When we got married, my husband suggested that I did not need to work.

(Anyone who tells you she would be bored staying at home – without financial concerns – well, I was not bored! I really liked not working while not worrying about money.)

In 2012, seven years after I was laid off, my husband took an unpaid leave of absence from his job to run for public office.

I was concerned about money. I found a job in about two months (using Ask A Manager’s great resume, cover letter, and interview advice – I wish I had had that information in 2005), but it paid less than half of my previous job.

It paid less than I was making in 1989 before I had the international experience, the language ability, the experience, and the master’s degree required by the new job.

It was one of the most demoralizing experiences of my life. But I took it because I had to have a job immediately.

I have since moved to a different job. I am making less money than I made in 1999, even though I have a similar level of responsibility and accomplishments. I try not to think about it too much because it makes me feel like a total failure.

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David September 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Ya, that is a tough one and worse for men. I am trying to place a top sales guy who redirected his career towards teaching (noble) but just could not make enough money to support his family (sad commentary on the importance of education for another time!) so he is trying to get back into sales…..it has been a tough row to hoe…especially, as I said, for guys because being a mom is perceived as nobler while leaving your sales job as a guy is too often seen as not being able to hack it….

But, respectfully, “hiring” “authorities” almost always take the easy path, even if it costs them great talent….lack of respect.

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grannybunny September 7, 2017 at 6:18 pm

I was a trial lawyer — and former judge — with a successful solo practice, when my Mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Being self-employed, I was able to take off substantial time to spend with her and assist with her care. Six months later, her terrible suffering ended and she passed away. My Father was 80 years old at the time. They had been married 50 years, and he was totally bereft. My 14-year-old son and I moved in with him, to help care for him. Papa would have died otherwise, as his grief was such that he was barely eating and sleeping. For the next 10 years I struggled — a member of the “Sandwich Generation” — trying to raise and educate my son, care for my Dad and keep us all, financially, afloat. As time went on, I was able to work less and less. My Father suffered a fall backwards, off a curb, into the street, knocking him unconscious. He regained consciousness, but we spent the night in the ER, getting him checked out. He suffered an undiagnosed brain bleed. Two weeks later, he had to have emergency brain surgery. He never fully recovered, and required full-time care thereafter, which fell to me. For several years, my only respite was choir practice on Wednesday evenings and Church on Sunday morning; my Sister paid my Daughter-in-Law to watch Papa during those times. Ten years after Ma’s death, Papa failed to wake up one morning. After his death, I was totally spent. I did not try to revive my law license — which had lapsed during the intervening years — as I was not up to resuming being a gladiator, fighting other people’s battles. My son was managing restaurants and I helped out setting up new ones and baking the desserts for them. Delivering some food for one of the restaurants — a humbling experience in itself — I saw a flyer that the Post Office was hiring Christmas help. The Security Guard there — whom I had befriended during prior deliveries — assured me that he would get me in, and he did. I started at the very bottom and worked my way up. Supportive management recommended me to the Law Department — which I didn’t even know existed — and I was able to put my educational background and professional experience to work. My work was noticed, and I was recruited for my current high-level position, one occupied by only 3 others in the entire Country. Don’t ever give up!

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Stephanie October 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm

I have an early childhood teaching degree, and I taught Head Start for 2 years from 1999-2001. I had my first child in 2000, and from 2001-2003 I worked as a private nanny so I could have her with me every day. I had my second child in 2003 and was a stay at home mother for 4 years, which I very much enjoyed. During that time, I took classes online to keep my mind active and boost my college gpa.

I taught at a private school from 2007-2008 and was then hired at an educational research institute, where I have been ever since. I worked there part time for 2 years, then moved up to full time and began to climb the ladder within the organization.

I attempted a Master’s program (twice) but was then diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease and had to re-evaluate my priorities. I now work part time again and have had to come to terms with not being physically able to continue an upward career trajectory. This job is enjoyable though, and extremely flexible. I’ve also just begun a flexible, intermittent side job that is a direct result of the training and experience I’ve had in my current position over the past nine years.

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