Week 4: Women in SET (career breaks)

For this part of the course, we are provided with two audio programs featuring interviews with women who have taken career breaks and successfully returned to SET.

Only one features a woman in a similar situation to mine: she did several post-docs, married a cameraman and worked with him, got divorced, and returned to research through a fellowship from the Daphne Jackson Trust. As I’m not planning to go back to the bench at this stage, and have already been down the route of starting my own business, none of the suggestions for getting back into the workforce provided in these programs are likely to be of use to me.

Reading around the topic again:

From the Royal Society of Chemistry website (members only section)

Knowledge and skills

You will find returning to work after your break very difficult if you have not kept your knowledge and skills up to date. In today’s job market, even a short break can leave you out of touch and less attractive to employers unless you can demonstrate up-to-date knowledge of current practice.

  • Keep in touch with colleagues at your former workplace – meet up with them socially to discuss developments
  • Are there any opportunities for part-time or freelance work? Consider editing and proof reading papers and publications, working limited hours or covering holiday and sick leave
  • Continue to read journals, newspaper articles, books and magazines to stay with your specialist area of expertise – use the RSC’s Library and Information Centre to reduce this expense.
  • Keep up your membership of the RSC and subject groups.
  • Consider what networking opportunities you have

Information sources
Identify information sources to help you research and stay in touch with the job market:

  • Use business directories such as Kompass to obtain information about companies and what they are doing
  • Contact companies and education institutions directly and ask for information – annual reports are a useful source
  • Request information about specific jobs even if you do not intend to make a formal application. Most applications will provide you with a job description and a person specification. You can keep track of what skills are valued in the employment market

Now those are suggestions that I can and will follow up on!


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