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How do I regain my confidence to return to the workplace after a 10 year break?

Hello to you all, I'm Sue. This is my first discussion so please go gently on me.

I happily gave up a fantastic career to become a mum to two beautiful children and in the process I moved to Italy. I feel ready for a new challenge and return to the workplace and have retrained. The problem is, I feel that I have lost confidence in myself after being at home for so long.

Does anybody else feel like this? How do I put myself out there? I'd really welcome your views.

Jul 14, 2014 9:44 PM
Comments · 4

Hi Sue,

I'd challenge you not to think you've "lost" your confidence. Perhaps it's just been keeping a low profile in recent years. :)

Actually, I'd go the opposite way... you've raised two beautiful children. Your confidence should be sky-high. What more important task is there than raising children? (I have two of my own.) But I get what you're saying... it can be a big  adjustment to jump back into a new situation.

To me, the key to remember is that the new situation isn't "new" for very long. You'll likely find that it won't take long to get those "workplace" muscles strong again. Any nerves or initial stumbles are normal and will quickly fade away.

The nice thing is that no one has to know about any lack of confidence. Focus on how you can help others in whatever new role you take on. That often gets us past spending too much time focused on any "lack" that we think we have.

And enjoy that you have the opportunity to take on a new challenge. Sadly, too many people never seem to get that chance (or aren't aware they can do that).

I'm currently looking for my next challenge, so I'm a bit envious of you as you appear to be further along than I am.

I guess I'd say not to deny your current feelings, just don't dwell on them. Focus on all the good things that will come from this new adventure.

July 14, 2014

Hello Mike

Thank you so much for your wonderful reply. It really hit a chord with me, it was just what I needed to hear. Your advice was to focus on helping others and that it is going to be my driving force as I move forward.

You say you are looking for your next challenge, what would you like to do? Maybe I could help you as your words have helped me.

July 15, 2014

That's great to hear, Sue. Glad I could help.

Y'know, I love to help people and one of the ways I think I'm good at that is teaching (and writing). It's actually why I ended up here a couple of days ago.

I'm thinking of going for the TEFL. It's really not so I can get a job in some other country, although I'm sure that would be fun. I'd just like to learn more and see what opportunities come up. While I don't have a teaching degree, I've taught adults in business, college continuing education, church, etc.

So a TEFL may lead to working with business people looking to learn another language, or very short-term mission trips (Japan would be great) to teach English.

Really hard to say for sure... I just know that it's time to break out of a little comlpacency, tackle some new challenges, and keep investing more in helping people where I can.

Thanks for asking, and nice to be following each other now.

July 15, 2014

I figure you may do some sort of warm-up before you really begin your career again. Start to contact some other people who are not really familiar with you and review newspapers to see what is taking place in recent days. That might be a small change but small change sometimes alter a lot. The most important is your professionalism and confidence of your knowledge. It is inevitable to have little stumbles when you decide to take a new task. Being patient and sincere is the most critical factor you may conquer everything.


To converse with others here is very helpful to establish your confidence again. 

July 15, 2014