There’s nothing like absence to make the heart grow fonder, but at the same time nothing like distance to make you realize how much you don’t like your job. Being on maternity leave is the perfect time to see how you really feel about your job, without the daily pressures or influences of working every day. Not only does the break help you get perspective, but becoming a parent can also change your priorities and view. And in Israel, we’re lucky to have 14 weeks of paid leave and other maternity benefits! It’s a shame not to take advantage of this time to consider a career change.
Explore New Options
Maternity leave isn’t just for bonding with babies, it’s also for strengthening the new mama. And part of that has to do with her career. Being home is a great time for you to try on new things. From online courses, trying out some freelancing, or even being a full-time mom, maternity leave is an ideal time to explore without fear. And new options don’t have to be a dramatic change. Start looking for options within your own company, from changing roles, departments, or divisions, there could be lots of opportunities right under your nose.
Quit Without Guilt
Nothing like some good old fashioned guilt to make you stay in a job where you’re not happy. But with a bit of time and distance, the guilt factor begins to fade away. Not only does time away from your boss and coworkers bring physical distance, it can also create the emotional distance for you to make a logic-driven decision about your career. And for those who are perpetually guilt-ridden, it’s the perfect opportunity to slip out the door of a job without feeling like you’ve insulted anyone, taken anything for granted, or betrayed your employer. Having a child is a big change and people tend to understand that it is a big impetus for making changes. Whether it’s the new addition that has caused changes or your desire to leave has been lingering for a while, quitting or changing jobs at this time is very understandable.
When you strip away all the career duties, all the job stuff, all of the things that surround you and your work, you’re left with you. What is your identity? Is it wrapped up in your job title or does it go deeper? Are you doing what you set out to do with your life? These questions are much easier to answer as you are on a break from your job. Having a bit of extra time and a lot of space from work is an ideal time to do some self-assessment or get some help from a career or life coach. You might find out some interesting stuff about yourself when you go looking for it.
Find a Mama Mentor
Becoming a parent for the first time (or even second, third, and fourth…) brings lots of changes. And no doubt it’s a time when you become closer with your own mother or female role models, which is great, but not necessarily a mentorship. Maternity leave is a good time for you to start finding women you admire, connecting with them, and forming relationships. No matter what your career choice is, from stay at home mom to software engineer, there are groups of women where you can find someone whose life choices you would like to emulate. Find them and let them guide you into making your life what you want it to be.
Where do you go from here?
You’ve found your new perspective, explored new options, quit your job, rediscovered yourself, and found a mentor – congrats! But where do you go from here? Only forward in your life journey. Fear of failure is very real, but so is fear of success, especially among women. Mama, you are great, you are wonderful, you are amazing just the way you are! If you wait for The Perfect Time to do something, you won’t ever do anything, so get moving on your dreams today.