Making the decision to take a career break is not an easy one, especially when you love the work you do. I worked at a large accountancy firm for 15 years in a senior Risk Advisory position. It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make when relocating the family from South Africa to the UK.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take the time I needed, to establish a new home for the family, help my kids settle into school, assist them through any challenges and build a support network. I also used this time to do some work with the local school and community. My career break lasted 4.5 years.
I found the decision to return to work even more difficult. The longer I was away from the job market, the harder it was to go back to work. My inner voice kept telling me that I did not have what it takes, and my confidence took quite a knock. It has not been an easy journey.
However, when I received a job offer, I took it one step at a time, and I’ve really enjoyed getting back on a career path with Mazars.
Arlene’s top tips for returning to work
- Believe in yourself - The first step to making your way back to the workplace is to believe in yourself. A practical suggestion which worked for me is to remind yourself of all achievements and great things you did prior to taking your career break (it is incredible how much you remember when you spend the time listing and thinking back to before). Don’t forget all the new skills you gained during your time away from the office. These too are very valuable and can be transferred into the workplace.
- Accept the support around you - Give yourself a chance to get back into the swing of things and do not aim to go from Zero to Hero the moment you walk back into the office. The Mazars Returners Programme is a fantastic way to transition back into work after a long career break. Don’t be scared to ask for help and make mistakes. Before you know it, you will be back to taking charge of your career.
- Don’t give up – You may wonder how you used to do this job with ease and feel like giving up, but don’t allow yourself to quit. You can do this! With the right attitude, support from your team and self-belief, the sky is the limit.
Support, encouragement and adding value
The support I have received from my team at Mazars has been incredible. They encouraged me throughout and I felt like part of the team from day one.
The partner in my team held regular 1:1 sessions with me to understand how I was progressing and settling in and managing the pace at which my portfolio was increasing.
I had not realised how much I missed acknowledgement, appreciation and being part of a team. The feeling of teamworking together, knowing I am adding value and contributing my experience to my team and clients is extremely rewarding.
Arlene is a member of the Risk Consulting team in London, which provides risk advisory services, including Internal Control Transformation, Outsource/ Co-Source of Internal Audit, Enterprise Risk Management and Governance.