How to adopt a positive back-to-work mindset

Taking the plunge to return to work after a long absence can be challenging. Like all life changes, a transition from a career break back to work requires a roadmap  a series of small, actionable steps to help you prepare physically and mentally for the change.

The most successful roadmaps begin with adopting a positive mindset. To get you started, here are our top mindset tips to help you return to your career with clarity and confidence.

Identify your ‘why’

Before you begin your transition back to work, we recommend identifying your ‘why.’ Is it for additional income? Personal fulfilment? Meeting new people? Learning something new? Your WHY will also be your anchor when encountering difficulties and challenges. Ultimately, your WHY will serve as your guidepost towards your vision.

Set clear intentions

Many ‘returners’ often prioritise their families and others’ needs over their own, perhaps without even noticing that their needs have gone to the bottom of their agendas.

To help re-position your needs back to the top of your list (where they belong), spend some time considering what you want out of your future career.

Determine what type of job you find both fulfilling and gratifying. It can also be helpful to make a list of your career priorities or non-negotiables. This could be personal fulfilment, greater flexibility, personal development/learning opportunities or the salary and benefits package.

Determine what type of job you
find both fulfilling and gratifying.

Mindfully manage expectations

Part of creating a positive mindset is learning to manage your expectations.

The return-to-work journey can be rife with unexpected hurdles and challenges. There are times when conversations may not materialise or interviews may not go as well as expected. But with the right mindset, you can stay positive and mindfully manage your expectations throughout the process.

Remember that returning to work will be a learning curve — not just in getting up-to-date with the industry but also adjusting to a new environment, so try to persevere with a positive attitude and proactive outlook.

Engage your support system

Whether it’s your family, friends or on an online returner community like Back to Work Connect, having a solid network of support is one of the most powerful assets you can have in your toolkit.

Clear communication with all those impacted by your return to work is also crucial. Set clear boundaries and expectations in advance.