The Five Ws: Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Returning to Work After Your Pennsylvania Divorce
So, divorce sucks. No matter if you have the best attorney, the best judge, and the best ex-spouse, the new life changes in which you are about to embark will make you, temporarily, uprooted from your old normal. A common misconception about the Pennsylvania divorce process is that, once you are divorced, your ex-spouse will need to fully finically support you for the rest of your life. If only this were true. Unless you married Warren Buffet and have 13 minor children, chances are the alimony and/or child support you get from your ex-spouse won’t be enough to sustain your lifestyle. Enter a job.
One of the biggest changes in divorce can be the need to return to work following a career hiatus. After taking years out of the workforce, it may seem daunting and impossible to become monetarily self-supporting. However, it can also be incredibly empowering to reclaim your professional brio and enter the workforce once again. Here are five questions to ask yourself when transitioning back into the workforce:
#1: Who am I, really?
Let’s think existentially, shall we? Why do you exist? How can your existence help the market in your area? What are your passions? What are your talents? How can you find a job that combines your passions and your talents in order to satisfy your soul? Oh yea. Someone call Ziggy Marley – puff, puff, pass… just kidding.
In addition to those questions, think practically. Think about the types of jobs you’ve had in the past. Did you enjoy them? Were they fulfilling? What did you like/dislike about your role? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Begin thinking about various factors at play in a new position, such as salary, flexibility, prestige, and intellectual stimulus.
#2: What can I do to make myself desirable to future employers?
Once you’ve thought about your soul and Ziggy Marley, it’s time to create your professional identity. You’ll need to tailor all your marketing tools (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc.) to address the needs of the position for which you’re applying. Be sure to include buzzwords from the job posting and terminology from the industry in all of your materials. Also, don’t be afraid to seek feedback from people that love you. Reach out to friends, family members, former supervisors, etc. to see if they can offer any comment on your professional materials.
#3: Where can I network?
Think about life this way: every interaction is an interview. Whether you’re just picking your kids up from school or helping someone navigate your local grocery store, it’s important that you’re looking for career opportunities everywhere. In order to keep up with different networking events in your area, follow companies that interest you on various social media outlets. When you focus on a particular area or industry, it makes it easier to secure contacts and make relationships with people who may ultimately lead to employment.
#4: Why am I not finding jobs I’m passionate about?
Well, you’ve been out of the workforce for quite sometime now. The job market is better than it was, however, finding a job that matches your passions can be difficult. Not to mention the competition for said positions can be fierce. With that being said, it’s important to look at any and all positions available in your chosen field. For example, short-term positions may turn into long-term goal opportunities! So, don’t overlook a position simply because it doesn’t offer the hours in which you are interested, or for some other small reason.
Also, don’t be afraid to create opportunities where none exist! Feel free to write articles about a particular subject, offer to take up slack while someone is on maternity or medical leave, or check out some websites that are geared towards freelance work. Ultimately, focus on building credibility in your given field.
#5: When should I prepare myself for this life shift?
Start now. It’s not easy shifting from one life position to the next, and oftentimes this transition is accompanied by lots of stress. You can actively manage this life shift by creating routines – pray, start an exercise regimen, take up a cooking class, do anything that can help you maintain (or achieve) a balance.
We understand that jumping back into the workforce after a hiatus is brutal, and that the divorce process is less than glamorous. Allow us to hold your hand and guide you while you’re making these tough life decisions. Give us a call today and we can have an hour-long existential conversation – we’ll even call Ziggy.
… okay… we won’t really have an existential conversation… and we won’t really call Ziggy.
*Our office accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County (Greensburg).
Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning), Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Somerset County, and Venango County.*