It’s always a delight to watch Brene Brown speak. She has a magical ability to connect with her audience, using both empathy and humour, and her messages resonate strongly. Her words, spoken or written, move us, inspire us, and help us to make changes in our lives.
Brene told us in her Netflix show (The Call to Courage) that she is “super introverted”, which makes her another example (like fellow author Susan Cain) of an amazing speaker who is an introvert. She’s also highly structured, saying: “I'm more of the ‘life's messy, clean it up, organise it and put it into a bento box’ [type].” One of her superpowers is the unusual combination of her research and storytelling skills which bring her studies of human connection to life – as a researcher/storyteller, she’s a slasher. In her words: “I am a storyteller. I'm a qualitative researcher. I collect stories; that's what I do. And maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
This post explores the themes of courage, vulnerability, connection, creativity and critics, drawing on Brene’s ideas and sharing a recording of her keynote to creatives at the 99U conference. Exposing our ideas to the world takes courage, so we highlight some of her classic quotes which connect with us at Protagion, and offer reflections from one of our mentors on her book “Daring Greatly”*. Read more to be inspired by Brene’s ideas, advice and authenticity.
Earlier this month, we wrote about career breaks and various reasons professionals take them. We shared too advice from Bethany Mayer, including her perspective on career breaks and how she re-entered the workforce, ultimately becoming CEO of a technology company and then an Independent Board Member.
This post builds on that advice and focuses on those preparing to return after a break. As returning to work after a period away can be particularly difficult, we suggest resources which may help. Please do let us know in the comments about additional information sources, materials or programmes you’ve come across that may help our readers in different countries make the transition back into the corporate world.
Want you back for good
So, how practically can we make the transition back into our profession after a period away? This is a common question from Protagion’s members in that stage of their careers. A personal strategy is naturally dependent on the specific profession, the length of and reasons for the break, the breadth of the individual’s network, their new career aspirations, and other factors. Nevertheless, there are some general elements to consider when looking to get back into your profession and career:
Ultimately, you are aiming to return to a place where your skills and experience are recognised and valued, and you feel part of the team. Read more about how some employers are actively seeking returners below, including examples of programmes in different industries. We also link to some general resources for those looking to get back into the corporate world.
Protagion has regular conversations with members and interested individuals about time off from their profession, either with the intention of returning, or as a step towards a new profession (i.e. a career transition).
Professionals’ career breaks can be for a variety of reasons:
Given the multi-decade length of our careers, and our multi-faceted interests, it is natural that we will consider changes as time passes, including permanent roles versus contracting versus consulting. Adapting to different stages is indeed part of lifelong learning, and even “retirement” (perhaps the ultimate career break) is now widely recognised as phased and reversible.
Time off from a profession can be temporary (like Ndivhuwo Manyonga’s decision to “spend time with [her] family and embark on some self-discovery”), or can mark the beginning of a permanent shift (like Susan Cain’s transition from lawyer to writer). The circumstances also impact whether you have the support of your employer to take your career break, including the comfort of a job when you return, which can make it significantly easier.
Another way employers can support their staff is by offering flexible working, a growing trend in many countries. When flexible or part-time work is available, it may be possible to balance both your career and your other interests (depending on the time they require) without the need for a full career break. Our post featuring Christina Dove shared how she uses the flexibility to invest in her own physical and mental wellbeing and to give back, because she believes in “mind, body and spirit equilibrium”.
Read more to see advice from Bethany Mayer, a senior leader in the technology industry, on career breaks and different roles at different phases in our lives.