Today we begin our 3-article series called "Take this job and shove it!" all about employment. Part 1 summarizes the real reasons and ways to connect with work while deployed, plus spouses at work, while part 2 addresses what to do if you want to find a new job including keyword resumes, skill transfers and networking. The series concludes with interviewing skills, what employers are looking for and what turns them off.
You and Your Job - While you're away
Staying connected with your family just seems natural. This connection keeps everyone involved with each other and helps when you come home. The same is true with your coworkers. Don't become a case of "out of sight, out of mind."
- Connect with one key coworker on a regular basis through email. Have them keep you filled in on workplace changes so they won't be such a surprise when you return.
- Give your spouse at home contact information for a coworker. He/she can keep the employer "filled in" on how things are going, and is a way for the company to feel connected to the deployed.
- Keep in touch with your boss or manager at least twice a month. They have information relevant to your position that you'll want to know. About 2 weeks prior to your return, set up an appointment with your boss for as soon as you get back. You should discuss:
- New work procedures
- Changes in current practices
- Suggestions for blending back in
- Changes in the job position and duties
- Anything new expected of you on the job
You and Your Job - When you return
It's good to be back on the job, but don't expect it to be exactly as you left it. Things had to move forward - new people, new projects and some of the same old issues. Initially, you're the "newbie" in their environment, and cautious consideration on your part is really the best way to blend back in.
- Show your appreciation. To help you all fit back in together, bring home small, appropriate gifts for coworkers. Local handcrafted items make good presents. These small tokens say "thank you" to them for picking up the slack where necessary while you weren't there.
- Be willing to adapt to changes that occurred. You'll see that some of the people have changed, projects you worked on have since completed, and new ones begun. Don't get defensive when things run differently, and work towards accepting them.
- Know that it will take time to get readjusted. "Stand back" a bit and observe how people are interacting with each other and familiarize yourself with what's going on.
- Meet one-on-one with those who took over your work. Ask how you can best make the transition back without making the person feel unneeded anymore. Be sensitive to how they are feeling, and let them know you appreciate what they did so that you could step back in again.
- Be willing to relearn or retrain for parts of your job that may have changed - especially technology.
- Address specific concerns promptly. Meet informally with your employer to help you understand differences that occur so that they don't "fester" into bigger problems.
- Have confidence in yourself. You did a good job before, and you'll do a good job again. It may take some time to "catch up" but you'll be back on track before you know it.
- Remember why you took the job in the first place. If you're still feeling alienated or uncomfortable try to think back on the reasons you liked the job at the beginning. Your job is a big part of your life, and if you're happy in your work, it spills over into your family.
Jobs and military spouses
Spouses with careers are becoming more challenged in finding ways to make their career "portable." The biggest issues arise when a spouse moves to another state and wants to transfer their professional license or certification as requirements for exams and residencies differ from state to state. Many legislative agencies are attempting to change laws so that licenses are recognized interstate and even have national exams. All this takes time, so what can you do in the meantime to ease the transition?
- Watch for legislative changes in your area
- Start networking early to build a new business or clientele in your new location
- Plan ahead as much as you can to get started on the transfer process
- Revise your resume to reflect new skills
- Familiarize yourself with the new requirements and begin the process early
- Contact programs/resources available to help with recertification or reeducation.
Ready for a job change? The next article gets you started on the search.
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