Mukta, Senior Data Consultant (4 year break)
I have worked in three countries as a management consultant, entrepreneur and technologist. I was always career driven but when I had my kids, I was enchanted by them. I decided that I wanted to spend time raising them and so I took a career break that lasted 4 years. It was one of the hardest jobs but also the most emotionally fulfilling. As my kids grew older and started school, I felt I was ready to start a corporate career again.
When I tried some traditional routes of applying for jobs and interviewing, I found I almost had to pretend that I didn’t have children and therefore family commitments in order to be successful. It was frustrating. A friend told me about Women Returners and I started exploring opportunities. I interviewed at dunnhumby and found the interview process and communication very friendly and inviting for women like me who had taken a career break. I was delighted and nervous when I received an offer.
On the first day, I finally understood what my son felt on his first day at nursery – very nervous of the unknown. I was unsure about how I would be able to manage my commitments to work and a young family. A wonderful coaching session by Women Returners was critical in instilling that pre-break professional confidence in me again. I realised how out of date I was when I found even Outlook and MS Office had changed significantly in those 4 years. But I had a very supportive manager and buddy who helped me navigate the first few months. They have been encouraging in many ways, including blocking off time to pick up my kids from school (with no questions asked/no issue) which makes a huge difference to women like me who want to return to work.
Now, it has been 8 months at dunnhumby. My confidence and skills are back. I have moved teams, managers, worked on several projects and met some wonderful people along the way.
I am thankful for the returner programme opportunity without which I might not have had such a successful start.
My advice to those who have taken a break:
- When you are ready, apply through a channel like the Women Returners for a gradual and successful start – as it takes your career break and other commitments into account
- Think of the returner programme as an opportunity to assess if the job and company are right for you