Have I told you lately how thankful I am for you all? This community is an amazing group of people who are so engaged and invested in encouraging one another, supporting one another, praying for one another, challenging one another (in a good way), and loving one another. I am always amazed at the thought, wisdom, and care that go into many of your responses. I don’t take lightly the time and energy it takes to carefully read through each person’s post and respond, and I want you to know that it blesses me greatly.
Today’s Question: I have been a stay at home wife, mother of seven daughters and a homeschooling mom. My youngest is a freshman this year. I put her in a Christian school, which has been a very positive thing for her.
Can you give me some help with overcoming my fear of going out in the job force when I have not worked outside the home? I want to prepare myself to be able to make enough money to support myself and two of my daughters.
I have prayed for twenty-five years for my husband and that has not worked, so I do agree with you when you said until the person takes responsibility and acknowledges he or she is wrong there will be no change.
Leslie, I will be sixty in March. I am afraid, but I am willing to take the steps I need so I am no longer a victim of abuse. Please give me suggestions.
Answer: Good for you. It’s tough to come to the harsh reality that your marriage is not going to change and you must take ownership of the rest of your life and figure out what you need to do. Is it scary? Of course, it is. But if you face your fears instead of avoiding them you can get through them.
You mentioned you’re afraid of going to work, but you didn’t say why. You have worked very hard as a mother of seven including homeschooling them. It’s not that you don’t have skills to offer an employer, or don’t have a good work ethic. Are you afraid of rejection? Are you afraid if you apply places you won’t get hired? That you may not have the right skills? That you’re too old? That you won’t make enough to support yourself?
All of those things could have some truth to them. But you only face your fear by taking action steps, not by thinking about your fear.
So the first step would be to figure out how much you would need to live on if you needed to. Have you consulted with an attorney to find out what kind of support you would get if you separated or divorced? If you have joint assets, you should be entitled to half. That may give you a cushion to buy another home, or supplement your income, or put some into a retirement account for yourself.
Next, write down everything you know how to do. Do you know how to get along well with people? Are you a problem solver? Can you navigate the computer easily? What programs do you know? Did you have any education or a career before you chose to stay home with your kids, such as nursing or teaching?
You may want to read Tom Clifton’s book Strengths Finder 2.0 or go to www.strengthsfinder.com and take the test (select the 2.0 option) that will help you. There is a charge for this but it will give you greater clarity.
Taking stock of what you have to offer an employer helps you interview with confidence. It also helps you discern what kind of job you would do best. I remember when my sister was looking for her first professional job. She had stayed home with her kids and felt very nervous entering the job market after a long absence.
She capitalized on her people skills as well as her ability to organize and problem solve – which she had done with her four kids very well. She had no computer skills. She was interviewing with a corporation that was looking for customer service representatives. She highlighted her people skills and demonstrated those in the interview. They hired her, even with no computer background. What they said to her is this. “We can teach you computer, but we can’t teach you people skills. We get lots of younger kids in here who know how to do computer, but they don’t know how to deal with people.”
Third, make a list of everyone you know who works somewhere or who owns a company. Ask them if they know of any job openings in the areas that you feel qualified for. You may want to ask those who might have some status or professional clout to make a phone call for you to ask someone in HR to for a favor and give you a chance at an interview. Word of mouth recommendations can go a long way.
Ask someone from the above list to review your resume and do some practice interviews with so that you feel prepared to tackle the questions asked of you when you do it for real.
Make an appointment with a career coach or counselor if necessary to help you walk through these steps and hold you accountable. You can also contact your local community college. They often offer “return to work” help, career tests, and refresher classes that will equip you to be ready to go back to the workforce. There is also a great website that will help you learn all about computer fundamentals at a minimal monthly cost. You can take as many classes as you want and quit when you want at www.lynda.com
Go on-line and put your profile up on Linked-In and also search company websites (of companies in your community where you might like to work) to see if they have job openings or go to websites that host job opening.
For a good article on this go to http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2015/10/27/the-10-best-websites-to-find-jobs
In addition, there is many direct sale and home based business that you might be well suited for. It takes someone who isn’t afraid to talk to people and someone who truly believes in her product, but other women have made a decent living selling Mary Kay, or Essential Oils, or some other home sale based product.
I encourage to come to our CONQUER Conference in October. Click here for more details. You will receive lots of support, it will build your confidence, plus there will be two specific workshops that might help you. One is on how to build your own business even if you don’t have spousal support, and the other is finding your strengths and being able to use them to re-enter the workforce.
Finally, don’t forget prayer. God knows exactly what you need to do and the place you are to work. Bathe all you do in prayer and he will open the doors for you (tweet that).
Friends, when you reentered the job force, how did you face your fears and prepare yourself?