Back to Your Future


It’s tough out there — and anyone who has been out of the world of work for a period of time has some serious catching up to do. Before you venture out and throw yourself into the new, technologically nagged world of work, there are a number of areas you might want to consider.

Whether you are a stay at home Mom re-entering work life, or you have left for additional training or education, the same issues apply:

  • Your resume. Granted, not novel advice, but critically important. Resumes today do not just list completed tasks, but are designed to represent you in a 360 fashion. Make sure you include an updated career objective which includes the type of role you are seeking. Have a professional take a look  if possible.
  • What the job is really like now.  Jobs evolve and “reshape” over time. I always suggest contacting people who currently hold your “target” or “dream” job. Conduct an informational interview about daily tasks, responsibilities and even possible stressors. Remember to keep the interview brief (15 minutes) as the incumbent isn’t paid to help you out.
  • The evolving workforce. Millennials have made their entrance into the world of work and they are a group to be reckoned with. They are not a different species – but their view of work – might be at odds with yours. But, they are quick, brave and creative. Learning from each other is key.
  • Setting your limits. Most importantly your technological boundaries. Many people allow their employers to have 24/7 access to their lives. If this is not something you can live with, think of what you can allow. Consider this early, as it is quite difficult to reset the parameters later.
  • Know what ideas are percolating in your industry. If you haven’t picked up the biz section of the newspaper or visited the Wall Street Journal for many years – start. Being aware of the general business climate in your industry will give keen insight into the minds of the employers that will interview you. Knowing the challenges a business may face today can only help you make a connection with a potential employer.
  • Your attitude needs to change from “I” to “We”. Most importantly you need to have a quick reality check as to your importance in the whole gestalt of it all.  When you had a schedule change on your own, you were in control. Now you must consult with others to determine how it will impact them. You are no longer a lone wolf. Thinking you don’t need to work at the office on Fridays, for example, will not fly unless it is advantageous to your employer.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist in East Lansing, Michigan. You can reach her practice at

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