Article By Lakshmi Vijaykumar, Senior Research Consultant – AVTAR Group
Often women fear taking a break from their professional lives due to pressing personal reasons and consider those breaks as professional suicides. The fact is those breaks actually can be stepping stones to something new, something more.
Now that you have made that big bold decision of returning to your career and have landed yourself in an organization, brace yourself up to a fresh start. You feel oblivious to the world full of career- focused people around you. You don’t know anyone around you. Every face is a stranger to you. No matter what job you are in, the first day at work especially after a long career break can be a nerve racking one. The thought of meeting new faces, making new friends, building something new and of course, starting from the scratch can psyche you out. Hold on to your breath. It isn’t that scary as it may sound. All you need to do is maintain your poise and remain composed as much as possible for you to not display your stressed side out.
The following tips will help you mark your second career with a big bang.
Boost your self confidence
Returning to a work environment after a break (especially a long one such as maternity and post child birth) is seldom a cake walk. Being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) might have even pulled your confidence levels down. Brace yourself with current affairs and certainly related to your area of work. This will enable you to be an active participant in peer group conversations.
Be on time
The most important is to be punctual on your first day at work. In fact, it would be a good idea to reach workplace fifteen minutes before, but enter the office arena just in time. It’s a basic thumb rule to NOT reach office late even by a minute on your first day at work.
Plan your day in advance
The dress you wear on your first day must introduce itself. Your outfit should retain your characteristic. So carefully choose your office wear all days, however on your first day make sure your outfit makes a lasting impression.
Prepare your elevator pitch
Prepare a quick, crisp 20-30 second introductory synopsis of yourself that will help spark interest in you among the people that you meet. It should be succinct, powerful and bring the best in you.
Relax and Smile
You have strategically planned your elevator speech, your conversations with peer group and also have a pre-determined list of people that you want to interact with. But do not let that show. Stay relaxed so that you can optimize your productivity. Also, don’t forget to smile. Don’t forget to enjoy the happy moment of re-entering your career. So have that beautiful smile on your face.
Be prepared to ask questions
By now you must have thoroughly researched about the company you have joined. So, the suggestion is to write down a list of questions that you may want to ask. While you do that, also keep in mind what to ask whom? You don’t want to end up asking queries on leaves to a non-hr person. So make sure you are asking the right question to the right person
Befriend one colleague
The new faces might seem to intimidate you. In your early conversations with colleagues, you will certainly find that one person with whom you will feel a connect. Establish a certain relationship beyond official with at least one person on Day one. Go a step further and make yourself available to lend a helping hand. Do not turn down lunch offers from boss/colleagues.
Learn the Office rules
The long halt between your personal journey and reentering professional spheres may have let you set your own rules for yourself. Try to understand from your peers or seniors on basic office protocol while acclimatizing with the office environment.
Project high energy
Everyone likes positive people. On the first day at work, no one is going to judge or examine you based on your work skills and ethics. Having said, everyone likes working with enthusiastic, energetic people – let people know what they can expect of you. Stay positive and exude the same as much as you can.
Put your phone on silent
Last but not the least; keep the mobile phone on silent mode through the day. This way you will avoid any distractions at work, also that will display your credibility and involvement on the first day of your office.
While it is difficult to determine definitive dos and don’ts on the first day of your career, the above will certainly help you lower your anxieties and bring the best out of you as you don the professional hat.