Fiona: Return to Occupational Psychology

I stopped working full time in 2000 at the age of 36 after the birth of my first child.  I am a qualified Occupational Psychologist (previously HRM) and previously had a demanding career, long hours travel etc.

In 2002 I started doing some freelance work with my former employer, doing between 0 and 30 days a year until 2008.  By then I had 2 children the youngest of whom was 4.  I found the idea of ‘working’ increasingly difficult to manage.

Instead, I started doing voluntary work and also became a school governor and then chair of governors for a small school. I thought a lot about my career and alternative careers and spent quite a bit of time considering retraining but couldn’t bring myself to do so.  I did short training courses in 2011, 2012 and 2013 such as Intro to CBT, NLP but didn’t really do anything with them.

In 2013, I attended the Mumsnet Workfest, having spent the 5 year period thinking about how could I return to work?.

As a result of the Mumsnet conference I created a Linkedin profile.  In early 2014 I decided I should probably stick to what I know best in terms of work, i.e. try to do the type of work I had always enjoyed most which was assessment and development. I vowed I would start looking for work and contacting companies.  I revamped my CV, sent off a few applications and found one useful contact through Linkedin.

In September 2014 my youngest child started secondary school and I had a strong feeling that ‘now is the time’ as my day at home alone had suddenly got much longer.  I actually started to say publicly for the first time ‘I am looking for work’.  As advised at the conference I contacted several people I had worked with previously basically asking for their help, in any way they could give, to talk through my aims.  I did this by email which was easier than calling!  They offered help although nothing actually came of it, at the time.  However, 3 weeks ago, I got a call  from one of the useful contacts I found via Linkedin.

The call led to an interview for a contract role running assessment centres which I was offered.  In my interview I talked a lot about my recent voluntary work and I spoke confidently about my ability to do this work as it had always been my favourite type of work.

My learnings are: