When women leave work and put their careers on hold, it's referred to as off ramping.
In their 2005 report, Center for Work Life Policy researchers Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce coined the term to describe an emerging workplace trend. Their research revealed that for many of us, a linear career trajectory is not the norm. Instead, various life situations and stages may result in our off ramping from the well-worn career path and opting for flexible work arrangements, transitioning to part time, or taking a scenic detour completely away from work and career. For some, this may be a short-term situation. And for others, it can be much longer.
If you're a woman who's off ramped and is now looking for work , or on ramping, you may be surprised at the challenges you're facing as you find your way back.
The changing workforce and difficult economy certainly factor into the equation. But there are personal challenges that come into play, too. Original career goals may no longer resonate or inspire, there could be uncertainty surrounding your skills and navigating a 21st century job search requires new, unfamiliar strategies.
On ramping is often a time of questioning and self-discovery. Some common questions women often consider as they plan a return to work include:
- What do I want to do?
- Where do I see myself in 6 months? In a year? In 5 years?
- How should I update my skills?
- Can I even compete out there?
- Where are the jobs?
These can feel overwhelming, and mining the answers downright scary
and intimidating. But the good news is that regardless of whether you're returning
to work after a hiatus of just a few years or many, you're embarking on an exciting,
empowering, and amazing journey of renewed self‐discovery and reinvention.
Whatever your career goal, you can and will get there from where you are now.
Will your journey back to work be straightforward? Probably not.
It may be bumpy. And it may contain some detours. You may even find yourself driving around some of our famous New Jersey jug handles. Just remember, each leg of your on ramp journey brings you closer to achieving your goal.
The journey back is itself preparation for your return to work. Be open to the people you'll meet and the opportunities that are presented. If you do, you'll emerge from your trip ready and better prepared to handle the challenges of work and career.
In future posts, I'll share insights, news and information designed to help you
find your on ramp and transition back to work. I couldn't be more pleased to join Garden State Woman and share the journey with you! I look forward to helping you prepare for your trip, sharing in your discoveries, cheering you on along the way, and celebrating your successes!
Carol Camerino is a career coach and strategist who specializes in helping three kinds of job seekers find their career on ramps: moms returning to work after a significant time away, new grads, and people transitioning to a new career. Her services include coaching, resume writing, interview preparation and job search strategy consulting. For more information, visit www.lookingfortheonramp.com.