Returning to Work After a Career Break: the most common myths and how to banish them

By Fiona Clark, Career Coach and Founder of Inspired Mums

Returning to work after a career break can feel like a rollercoaster of a journey – one moment you’re feeling excited and energized, the next you’re overwhelmed with doubt and worry about the task ahead. Moving out of your comfort zone and trying something new can be scary. However, the danger comes when we let our worries and assumptions undermine our success by preventing us from achieving our goals.


So, to help you separate fact from fiction, here are the most common myths about returning to work after a career break and my expert advice on how to banish them once and for all:


Myth #1 “My skills are so out of date they are irrelevant”

It’s entirely normal to worry that the world of work has changed a lot since you had a career break. Try to counter these concerns by focusing on the skills you are naturally good at and won’t have lost. Perhaps you are a great communicator or are brilliant at bringing people together and making things happen. Just because a skill comes easily to you, don’t under-estimate the power of it in the workplace. Remember to include any new skills you have developed since becoming a mum – whether it’s being more organised or better at prioritising.


Myth #2 “I will have to take a more junior role to get the flexibility I want”

So often I hear say “I’ll do anything as long as it fits around the kids” which is not a good starting point. By undervaluing yourself in this way, you can end up working in a role that leaves you feeling bored and demotivated. Or worse still, you might apply for lots of roles and not even be shortlisted for interview as you are so over-qualified. Much better to work out your transferable skills and how to sell yourself effectively to do a role that matches your experience. Only take a voluntary or more junior role if you are doing it as a stepping stone with an end goal in mind – for example to network your way into a business you really want to work for, or to try out a new career path. Otherwise – remember your worth and aim for roles that reflect your true skills-set and pay.


Myth #3 “The only way to get family friendly hours is to work in a school or university”

If you really can’t work any school holidays at all, then clearly schools and universities are an obvious place to look. However, with the wide choice of childcare options out there – including holiday clubs, nannies, childminders and kind-hearted friends or family – you may decide instead to take some of your annual leave to coincide with school holidays. If you are happy to work 4 days a week, or simply need some flexibility to attend school events, then don’t be afraid to apply for full-time roles and negotiate your hours and flexibility as part of your package.



Myth #4 “I’ll never manage to juggle everything once I go back to work”

As Lucille Ball famously said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Ever noticed you are more productive and focused when you’re busy? I’m not suggesting you want to be run off your feet, but often we do step up and cope with whatever situation we find ourselves in. However, when you return to work, you may also need to re-evaluate what and when you can get things done and make changes accordingly. This could be asking for more help on the domestic front, or doing some batch cooking at the weekend to help with meals during the days you work.


By facing your fears and banishing these return-to-work myths once and for all, you will immediately feel more confident and motivated as you embark on your search to land your perfect role.


If you would like a free consultation with Fiona to talk about how she can help you find a fulfilling and family friendly role, then contact or 07789 597209.   


Looking for more career & confidence advice? Download Inspired Mums’ free e-book,  “For mums stuck in a career rut – 8 steps to finding work you love” on 


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