Returning to work having had months or maybe years off, you would be entirely normal if you were having, or have had, a significant confidence wobble, questioning: ‘can I still do it? Do I belong here? Am I really worth it?’ The fact is that you can still do it. You do belong there and you are probably worth more than ever. So, in the next few paragraphs I’m going to guide you to the evidence that proves this. Are you familiar with the term ‘competency’? It’s a very misunderstood term, so I’ll give you my short definition – it’s the combinations of the skills, attitude, knowledge and behaviours that are fundamental to success in a specific job role and organisation. So, I’m going to use these four components to help you see the clear fact-based evidence that you’ve still got what it takes to succeed, so you’re still worth it.
YOUR SET OF SKILLS
The fact is that you still have the same set of skills as when you stepped away from work and as soon as you started using them again you’ll have found it was like getting back on a bike. What you may suspect is that in your time away colleagues were developing new skills leaving you behind and feeling exposed. Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps it’s just a perception. So you need to establish what the realty is, and if there is a gap, you need come up with a plan to close it. Try to note down ways in which your colleagues could have acquired relevant new skills and then ask some questions of those colleagues, of HR and of your boss to find out if that’s the reality. And don’t be worried about asking and explaining why you’re asking – those groups of people will be pleased that you’re on the case and demonstrating positive commitment.
I used to work in sales for the Mars Corporation and I remember asking what the profile was of the best sales people. Mothers with young kids, was the answer. What??? Why?? I was told it’s because no-one is more focused on delivering the results in the time available. They get really clear on what needs to be delivered and they just get on and do it. No faffing. No time-wasting. Every minute has to be productive. And I bet that’s you. When you haven’t got the option of coming in early or staying late you move into turbo-charged productivity. You’re concern about not having that extra time makes you more diligent and productive than you probably ever were.
Mums work smarter and harder – but you may not recognise that in yourself. So try to be aware of what you’re getting done and what you are delivering. Review what you’ve achieved at the end of the day and the week. And don’t be afraid to drop that information in strategically, so that others know that you’re more than carrying your weight. It’s simply not true that people who work long hours are the people who add the most value.
It’s the same story as your skills. Your knowledge is still there though it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re out of touch with the latest developments – you can feel like that when you’ve been on a 2 week holiday. So, get on the front foot and take control by checking out areas that could have experienced changes. Look at the main areas that your job focuses on and the processes that support them. Then, if needs be, come up with a plan to get up to speed. By taking this structured, systematic approach you may even gain information that colleagues haven’t acquired.
What could have changed in your behaviour? You are the same person. On the upside you’re probably more driven and productive. On the downside you may be experiencing higher levels of stress now that you are running two jobs. Contrary to popular belief stress actually enables us to perform better, so long as it doesn’t get too high. If it is getting too high, you need to work out if your job-share plan is working properly. The job-share I’m talking about is the home job. If you have an unequal balance of domestic responsibilities you will carry more stress. It can be a tough negotiation but it’s vital for your sanity. Being a Mum is an additional role that requires a new set of competencies, but they don’t overwrite the ones you’ve developed and practiced during your career. Competencies, like love, know no limits!
Get in touch if you you’d like to explore any of these topics further At The Women’s Sat Nav to Success – we’re focusing on solutions, so please join us, by signing up for The Women’s Sat Nav to Success 2017 Survey now.
Diana Parkes is the Founder of The Women’s Sat Nav to Success.
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