Re-entering the Workforce after Divorce
Navigating a divorce can take its toll. You’ve kept it all together so far, but now you may be feeling exhausted and vulnerable with a good dose of intense insecurity. You’re starting from square one. And to top things off, you may have to go back out into the working world after years of being at home.
Finding a job after divorce
Finding a new job after being a stay-at-home parent is scary. You may have never even held employment outside the home. But before you jump ship, grab a cup of tea. Take some deep breaths, and focus on some simple preparation.
First of all, you’re not alone. This is the reality for many people after a divorce. And although you may not find your dream job immediately, if you give yourself time and accept the help that is available out there, you can find something that matches your interests and skill set.
Decide your career path
Maybe you already had a successful career that you can go back to. Or maybe you are starting from scratch. Fortunately, there are resources to help you with options. If you can afford to spend a couple of sessions with a career counselor, it can be a valuable resource. Otherwise, online options exist to help you understand what jobs match your current skill set, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Polish up your resume
If you have a work history, it’s time to dust off your resume and make it relevant to today’s work atmosphere. The workplace itself, and even the preferred resume format, may have changed since you last worked. Bring your resume and history up to speed so you can put your best foot forward in today’s landscape.
Take some classes to update your knowledge
If you’re getting spousal support, it may buy you some time to update your education and go back to school. You don’t need to get your Ph.D., but you may want to take some classes to help yourself become more marketable in today’s workplace. It doesn’t even have to be college courses; you could also take some local adult education classes.
Make use of your social circle
Friends, family, and social media are great ways to reach out to let people know you’re ready to return to work. Creating a LinkedIn profile can be an essential tool for career networking. So can joining professional associations and attending their meetings.
Consider remote work
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that we don't always have to go to an office to be valuable employees. The stay-at-home working parent is a new reality. Remote work can offer you a hybrid way to stick your toe in the work world while finding your footing as a newly employed person.
Consider a returnship
Returnships are internships designed for people who have been away from a career and want to return. These can last a few weeks or a few months and offer training and mentorship to those who have been out of the workplace and need some brushing up.
Consider part-time or temporary work
You may want to accept part-time or even temporary work at first. These opportunities can open you up to more employers and let you prove your worth on the job if your work history has significant gaps.
Tips for succeeding in a new job after divorce
Finding a job is step number one. Being successful at it is another.
Setting yourself up for success requires good time management and organization, both on the job and at home. Working parents understand one thing acutely: Parenting and working a full-time job can often feel diametrically opposed.
Figure out childcare
As a newly working parent, you’ll be faced with a whirlwind of new challenges. Finding reliable and affordable childcare is the first hurdle to conquer. Even when you find that, kids will get sick and won’t be able to attend childcare or school. It will be important to reach out to others to establish a list of reliable babysitters for these moments. Remember that if you’re co-parenting, there will be times when you will have to reach out to your ex to get some help.
Nurture your children
At first, a new job can consume a lot of time and energy as you figure things out. But you’re not the only one trying to navigate this new life. So are your kids, and this time will feel rocky for them, too. Carve out important one-on-one time to help them feel safe and loved post-divorce. You may need to leave at-home work-related matters until after the kids go to bed to achieve this.
Returning to the workforce after divorce is difficult, and you’re a hero for picking yourself up and moving back out into the world. Give yourself the credit you’re due.
Be patient with yourself
We are not machines. If you’ve spent any time at all outside the workforce, there will be a learning curve and times when you will feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Sometimes, the best you can do is put one foot in front of the other. Let that be enough.
Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. As a society, we believe in the Puritan work ethic and rugged individualism as the path forward. But when you’re navigating the rough terrain of divorce, it often takes support and rabid self-care to provide a soft landing place.
Lean on your tribe
Reach out to your tribe or a divorce support group. You may even benefit from getting some professional counseling. You don’t have to push yourself through every one of life’s challenges by yourself right now, and asking for and accepting help is the kind of vulnerability that attracts people to your corner.
Whatever fills your cup, give yourself some of that as a reward for the hard work of divorce. You deserve it!
Divorce is emotionally taxing, and we can all benefit from help during these huge life events. This is one of the reasons Hello Divorce exists. We take a holistic approach to divorce and offer a rich bank of resources and essential information you can use throughout the entire process.
We believe divorce is more than the dry legal aspects of negotiating between partners and filing paperwork. It is also about getting the information and resources you need to make important decisions to carry on in your new life. Divorce, despite all the emotional overwhelm, can be a time of powerful re-invention and new opportunities.
What Does Life After Divorce Have in Store for You? Start Your Next Chapter Today.