Kids In School; Ready To Job Search?


Here in North America, it’s back to school time. Yes, the University and College kids have been dropped off in new cities far from home; the elementary and high school students are back in classes next week. So, with them back in school, are you now ready to get back yourself? In your case, looking for work?

Here’s something that might be of interest to you: The number one hiring period each year is March/April and the second is August/September. So we’re well into a prime hiring period. I don’t how long you’ve been putting off looking to get back into work, but you certainly do. What better time than now?

Some parents have been anxiously awaiting this time in their lives when their children are old enough to go to school. Knowing that they are being watched and cared for by other responsible adults allows them the comfort to shift their focus back to their own lives.

For other parents, having their children in school means separation from their children for the first time in years. This can have some surprising impacts, such as being afraid of looking for work and even more fear about actually finding an employer who hires them and then having to work. Seems odd but it happens when someone has had a child and not worked in the 4 or 5 years from their birth to the present. And if the parent had a second child during those 4 to 5 years, well, it may be that mom hasn’t worked in 8 – 9 years. That length of time might have eroded any confidence and skills once had. So returning to work now can be scary.

Today by the way as I write is August 27 and that means in 4 month’s time, Christmas will be over by 2 days. Retail employers are already planning their staffing needs and ads are actually starting to show up looking for seasonal help. In addition, those College and University students I alluded to earlier are having to leave their jobs and return to school themselves. So openings are being created; opportunities await, and you might want to get out there sooner rather than later.

One common objection I hear from the parent of an elementary school aged child is that they can only take jobs from 9 until 2 or 3 p.m. After all, they have to be standing in the school yard waiting with open arms to receive their child back into their care. Well, let’s be honest, that’s more a want than an absolute need. Consider that a lot of very good parents have their children in child care after having exhausted their maternity leave with employers. With their children in care all those years, having their children in school now means they are more comfortable having them receive before and after school care. So too could the stay-at-home mom find care outside of school hours; freeing them up to work or look for work. It’s a choice and I’m not saying one is wrong to return to work, but neither is one wrong for having their child in care.

There’s one truth we must acknowledge here though and that is that the longer you go without employment, the harder it is to get back into the workforce. Skills you once had get rusty or obsolete, references from years past become worthless, experience becomes questionable and depending on the field you’re returning to, outdated experience is next to having none at all. Why? Because an employer would rather hire someone with current or recent experience; someone who has skills, education which are among the best practices of the day.

Looking at the individual, a person’s confidence is undoubtedly not as strong as it may have been in the past; the depth of that lack of confidence mirroring the number of years out of the workforce. The longer you’re unemployed, the greater you’re self-doubt about your abilities. Admittedly this isn’t necessarily always the case, but I’m speaking in generalities here.

Now there are those not ready to enter the world of paid work who will cite their children’s return to school as yet another reason why they themselves can’t go to work yet. This is more for the parents peace of mind than that of the child. There are even those, (if we’re honest here) who don’t want to work at all and will look for any and all reasons why they need to stay home and not work, and their child’s entry into school gives them yet another plausible reason.

Now sure there’s an adjustment period for both child and parent when something as big as going to school for the first time or child care for the first time comes up. Wanting to ensure our children get off to a good start is being responsible. Kids are resilient though and we need to give them all the credit they are due for adapting quickly to these new environments. We did it, generations have done it, and our own kids will do it too.

Focusing back on our own careers and getting to work or back to work as the case may be is also natural. It may take you longer than you assumed or not to find work. Depends I suppose on your individual circumstances.

Dust off the old resume and get it updated. Consider volunteering if work seems too much; maybe even in your child’s school. Hey, it’s a start.