Category: Returnships, Work-Life Balance, Returners Programme, Return to work, Flexible Working, Resource Solutions, returning to work, career break, Rejoin
Kim Dudden joined Resource Solutions in January 2022 as part of our Rejoin programme, after a six-year break from permanent employment. Kim’s new content writer role, sitting within the Bids team, has been a refreshing change of pace compared to the high-pressure senior positions she’s previously held. While the role is challenging and enables her to learn new skills, Kim also enjoys a flexible working schedule that helps her balance her professional and family lives.
“I genuinely believe people can be more productive when they’re given the freedom to adjust their hours to their lifestyle,” says Kim, who works four mornings a week. “It’s empowering and makes you feel trusted by your employer. When I’m in ‘work mode’, I really pack the work into those hours.”
We spoke to Kim about her career so far, the difficulties she faced on her return-to-work journey, and how our Rejoin programme helped restore her confidence, and ultimately, connect her with the perfect job opportunity.
How would you describe your career journey prior to joining Resource Solutions?
I had been working in financial and professional services for over 20 years, mostly in business development and marketing roles. I’ve worked for global U.S. banks and large law firms in London. My work required me to travel, globally and around the UK, and I progressed to senior roles, reaching assistant director level.
When did you decide to take your career break?
It was the beginning of 2016. I left permanent employment to start a family. For five and a half years, I worked on a freelance basis for a business development marketing agency. But it was very stop-start and I found it difficult to fit work around family life. As life changes, your priorities change too. It was nice to have some time out and focus on raising my son.
Once my son started school, I was ready to return to permanent employment. The challenge I faced was finding the right opportunity. I was keen to find a part-time role that would make use of my skill set and experience, without the pressure and responsibilities of a senior position.
This was not easy! One thing I would hear a lot when applying was, “You’re overqualified.” That was frustrating and a lot of the part-time roles I found were heavily focused on administration. I wanted a job where I would be challenged, where I can add value as an employee – but still enjoy that flexibility.
How did you come across Rejoin?
I was searching online for return-to-work opportunities and came across the Rejoin website. I was immediately met with lots of information and support for people who were in the same position. I registered my details and a senior consultant got in touch. I explained my situation and the consultant was very helpful.
I had previously struggled to find support like this, so it was a refreshing experience. I was grateful to connect with someone who understood the nuances of returning to work after a career break. It can be difficult when you’re out there on your own. When I was conducting my own job search, employers and hiring managers would often look at my CV and only suggest senior-level roles. But the Rejoin consultant knew what I needed career-wise and helped me make it a reality.
This is a brand-new role for you – was that a conscious decision?
Before connecting with Rejoin, I wouldn’t have applied for a position in a bids team or as a content writer, as my experience has been working in relationship management. However, after conversations with the Rejoin consultant, I could see how my experience was relevant to the content writer opportunity. Throughout my career, I’ve built an understanding of the B2B sales process, client priorities and commercial knowledge.
I was delighted when I met the team, and they could see the value in my experience and were willing to offer flexible working arrangements. I love how the new role uses my commercial knowledge to produce sales documents, while also giving me the chance to learn about the recruitment sector and the services we offer. I’m also learning new skills in design.
What new skills did you pick up during your career break?
Multitasking, time management and being able to prioritise are critical skills when you have a family. Overall, I’ve learnt to focus on the task at hand. When I’m working, I am in “work mode” and then when I log off and pick my son up from school, I’m in “mum mode”.
I’ve been happier since working for Resource Solutions. I’ve always worked and missed it when I was looking after my family on a full-time basis.
Did you have any hesitations about returning to the workplace?
It was daunting to join a bigger team again. There are ten of us, so having an online team call took some getting used to, as I’m accustomed to working on my own. Even going into an office again was something I worried about, but the team were incredibly supportive and made me feel at ease.
There is a whole suite of systems I’ve had to learn since joining the company. I was keen to hit the ground running and deliver work very quickly, but you need to give yourself time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the new ecosystem.
What advice would you give to people who want to return to the workforce?
Firstly, I would recommend thinking about your experience and skills, and to consider your ideal working pattern. Secondly, speak to Rejoin. Their consultants will understand your situation and support you in a way that few others can.
Finally, remain open to new opportunities. There could be a role you’ve never considered before that’s just right for you.
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