Having read Hilly Jane’s article ‘Meet the women who want to crack the return-to-work problem – starting with telling you to ‘toughen up’’ in the Telegraph, about Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan’s organisation and a book of the same name, She’s Back – we were intrigued to know more.
TechPixies founder Joy Foster is reading the book and her conversations and training are peppered with references so we hatched a plan to find out more…
As luck – and a bit of detective work, would have it, we managed to bag ourselves a conversation with Lisa Unwin. She was generous with her time and thoughts and we’re very grateful.
We talked about the recent findings in a GEO report that states 91% of returners are women and most are mothers with dependents (84%). The study suggests more needs to be done in the areas of childcare and training to assist this group in their efforts to. Whilst we wait for companies and organisations to recognise this and instigate change, Lisa believes we can start to make small changes for ourselves; to facilitate our journey back to work.
We can help ourselves, and each other, but we must be clear about who we are and our worth in the marketplace. We must not be defined by our limitations but rather encouraged by our experience and skills.
Here are some of the answers to a particularly nosey TechPixie’s interview questions:
Q. Your book’s proving a huge success, with word-of-mouth working wonders; several TechPixies are mid-read – did you have an AHA moment?
– Actually it was a series of AHA moments, I was constantly receiving emails, all relating to the same topic; getting back on the corporate ladder, back into the workplace, how best to update a CV, selling oneself after a career break etc. so it was at the back of our minds for some time. Then, after speaking to a colleague who had advised ‘do what you’re good at’, I thought, hang on, I’m good at writing and so the premise for the book She’s Back was born – to provide answers, case studies, resources and guidance in response to those questions.
– Interestingly, in the beginning, we were told that career books for women don’t sell! We thought this couldn’t be right, one of our supporters Arianna Huffington also believed this was wrong, and told us that these very same questions were being unanswered by women in the states too so we thought let’s do it, let’s write the book.
Q. What’s your inspiration?
– If I’m honest, it’s the women who contact us, the women we meet, sit down to coffee with, the women who have a desire to get back to work and but need pointers about how to go about it.
Helping women to trace back to their years of working in a professional environment, guiding and encouraging them to adjust their thought-process, in order to recognise what that means in terms of experience and skills is deeply and continually rewarding.
Q. Best advice for those at the beginning of the journey back into the workplace?
– The process begins in your head – devote some serious time and thought to who you are; professionally, not wife, partner, mother, other; what do you have to offer, your experiences, your skills, your strengths. What are YOU good at? Do not start with your limitations. Be in control from the beginning.
Then find networks that can help you, supportive communities who can advise and share and introduce you to others – get up-to-date with social media and join business sites like LinkedIn to find like-minded individuals/groups – comment, engage, start conversations. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth aka networking.
Q. Other than @shesbackbook, can you recommend another good read?
– Would definitely recommend Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra, ignore the not-so-great cover – the book talks practically about how you can change your focus when considering your career. Advises you to get away from the idea that there’s one perfect job and only one vision – you could have lots of different visions, next job might not be thee job but a job along the way to the dream job.
Q. And a final word for our TechPixies?
– Do not forget all of the brilliant experience and skill you had before you started your TP journey, that experience is worth something, it’s important – if you haven’t already, get your head around what you have to offer – what you’ve done through attending your #socialmedia or #socialmediamarketing course is add to that skillset; it will compliment who and what you already are – translate that into commercial value and get back in – wishing you all the best of luck.
Here are Lisa and Deb’s top 5 tips to help you get back to work:
** Never say “I used to be” **
No one is who they were five or 10 years ago. Think about how you have changed, what you could offer now and how it may be relevant to an employer.
** Do your homework**
Finding a job is a job in itself – set aside the time and effort to do it as well as you can. Do your research.
** Get out more **
Use websites and relevant sites to find events and workshops that are relevant to your skills and experience. Many are free. Join alumni groups and professional networks and go to their events. Join groups of like-minded people, everyone at the school gate also had a life before children so open up a dialogue and foster good relationships.
** Make friends online **
If getting out is hard, make friends on LinkedIn, find groups on Facebook, find time to prepare the detail about how you want to ‘present yourself’ as you want to be seen professionally. Search for online demos on digital platforms like Facebook or Google or book onto a course. You are a professional individual and you are worth the investment.
** Be nice **
Help other people with your time, contacts and skills and they will help you.
a GREAT BIG THANK YOU Lisa Unwin AND Debs Khan.
If you feel inspired by reading this, visit us at the courses pages to find out more.
She’s Back – Your Guide to Returning to Work is published by Urbane Publications, c. £9.99 at Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shes- Back-Your-guide…/…/1911583565/
She’s Back review ‘Interviewing to return to the world of permanent work after 10 years out with my children and this book has been brilliant. Well written, insightful and perfect prep for how best to sell my new skills and time out as a positive instead of apologizing for it. A must read for anyone in the same position!’ June 2018.
If you feel inspired reading this, visit us at techpixies.com to find out more about our courses – they can provide you with new skills and a new network of like-minded individuals. We have a FREE Life Coaching Toolkit, a Social Media Essentials Course, a Digital Marketing Course, a SEO Course and a WordPress in a Day cousre.