How do you get back into the workforce after a career break or change jobs to a new field?
Hey there Beautiful!
Tis the season for back to school in whatever form that looks like for you, your children, and even grandchildren.
Some in person schooling, some online, some in between, and some others not going back at all since their child has decided to pursue a different route.
I went to Target this week and there was no back to school stuff left. It had all been switched over to Halloween candy.
Needless to say I walked quickly by that section of the store. I’ve got to survive almost TWO WHOLE MONTHS with Halloween candy available. Not cool, Target marketing people, not cool.
I think all of us could agree that 2020 has been the year of CHANGE.
All of our routines have been changed, rearranged, augmented, destroyed, or completely obliterated until we were able to create new ones.
And even with the new routines we still are not allowed to cling to them with a sense of normalcy since, geez laweez, it might change again.
We’re all uncomfortable and itchy with uncertainty.
If I could, I would give EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU a HUGE hug.
The kind that allows you to relax into it and let all of your troubles flow out of you. To allow you to just be, for a few minutes and not think about what you should be doing or thinking about what’s worrying you.
You know the thoughts that keep you from going back to sleep at 2:12 in the morning after you woke up to go to the bathroom because your bladder can’t hold it for the whole night any more!
I know we can’t see it yet but we will learn something from 2020. I have NO IDEA what it is and trust me if I did I would tell you in a heartbeat because that’s what girlfriends do.
We tell each other the truth even when we already know what the truth is but have to hear it from someone else to finally knock the sense back into our head.
So I’m hugging you through all the changes of 2020 and just know that you’re doing just fine.
Today’s guest on the podcast, Janice Scholl, also talks about the changes that you may need to make if you’re thinking about going back to work after a career break.
And before you turn this off since you think this episode doesn’t apply to you since you are currently working, all of her advice and tips can also be easily applied if your thinking about finding a new job whether it be in the same field you are currently working OR exploring other fields completely different than what you do now.
So who is Janice Scholl?
Janice has spent her entire career talking about money and business. Through her prior work as a commercial banker, consultant and mentor to budding entrepreneurs, she's helped clients create solid business and financial strategies to propel their business to success.
While working with aspiring female entrepreneurs, Janice noticed that the same four themes kept repeating:
- Many women are uncomfortable with finance, both in their business and in their personal life.
- Women want access to more women mentors and advisors.
- Women often start businesses because they feel the corporate world doesn’t fit their lifestyle. Few are motivated by purely financial reasons.
- Mothers don’t want money to drive their family decisions.
It's on this foundation that Janice works to change the conversation about money, career and motherhood.
What you will learn in this episode:
- Why there’s a disconnect between where we were when we started working and where we are now.
- The decision of purpose versus paycheck when looking for a job.
- Why we are sooooo hard on ourselves when getting back into the workforce or thinking about changing jobs.
- Understanding what you can’t do versus what you won’t do when thinking about how you will spend your valuable time.
And if you want to know more about Janice, all the ways you can contact her are below.
I’ll talk to you later, Beautiful!
Links mentioned in this episode and to contact Janice:
Alice Agnello: Hey, Janice. Thanks so much for being a part of the podcast today. I really appreciate it.
Janice Scholl: I'm so happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Alice Agnello: So Janice tell me a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Janice Scholl: Sure. So I am a married mother of two, and I live in Tennessee. And I moved here about two years ago after five years overseas. And we have done something different than the traditional path for quite a while now. But I started in commercial banking and really loved the world of finance, but found that there was not enough support from mentorship or advisory services for women, whether they were pursuing a business or they were looking to improve their personal finances.
Janice Scholl: And so when I had all that time overseas and took a career break, I decided that that's really where I wanted to focus my efforts, was to help women. And one of my children is a daughter and I think it's so important for me to set a good example and to help pave the trail for her as well and to teach my son to be a good male role model and support system for women as well. So that's kind of my family and what I do in a nutshell.
Alice Agnello: So my side note, because I just thought of this, I always had that same attitude with my sons as well. I wanted to make sure that I taught them how to be good men towards women. And one of my friends when my youngest son was really young taught me to make him, he's old enough, hold the door open for me and just do little tiny things even when he was teeny tiny to teach him how to be a good gentleman throughout his life, whether you're interacting with other women or just other people in general. So I love how you just said that.
Janice Scholl: It's so important. When I was parenting and having some challenging motherhood moments, I asked myself, well, is this what I want my daughter to experience motherhood as? And that was kind of like a test for me going forward and how I wanted to react to things. And then I'm like, well, that's not just relevant to my daughter, I want to ask myself that for, is this how I want my son's wife to experience motherhood? And how do I make sure that I train him the way that I want a family unit to work, not just a mother?
Alice Agnello: No, I couldn't agree more. So the reason I invited Janice to be a part of the podcast was I noticed a lot of women in this age group, midlife, we're kind of trying to reevaluate, do we want to stay in the current job that we're in? Do we want to go back to work? If I have taken a break for a while, was I a stay at home mom? Or maybe I just took a break for a couple of years while my kids were older so I could enjoy my kids while they were still at home before they left. So what do you think Janice is the biggest piece or a good piece of advice you can give to women who are thinking about getting back into the workplace?
Janice Scholl: Sure. And I'm going to talk a little differently to those who are looking to change careers, but are currently employed versus those who are getting back into the workforce. Because when we're getting back into the workforce, there's a number of different undercurrents to what we're thinking and kind of our self doubt at that time, as well as this disconnect between who we are and who we were.
Janice Scholl: So the first thing I really want women to understand is that whoever you were when you left your career, whether it was 10 years or 10 months ago, you have changed. We evolve every day. And if we look at the last six months as a test, I mean, imagine how much has changed in six months. Now I realize that that's not every six months rapid change, but I think it does remind us that change is happening even when we don't notice it.
Janice Scholl: And sometimes we don't notice our own transition when we're in it. So the first thing I think women need to really do is to assess why they want to get back into the workforce. It's not as simple as, well, I need a financial support system for myself, for my family for many women at this stage in their life. Sometimes we do just have to pursue a paycheck and that's important and that is a purpose in and of itself.
Janice Scholl: But I find that women in this age, they often want to go back into the workforce, but they want it to mean something. And so it's this whole purpose versus paycheck decision. But the problem is we get caught up on what our paycheck used to be, and that makes us make a bad decision sometimes.
Alice Agnello: Because we feel like there's a rush, meaning that because I have all this time and I want to go back to work and I want to find a purpose to my life other than my kids again, are women more inclined to just take the first thing that's available instead of actually really looking at what they want to do, if they have the luxury to actually take the time to do that?
Janice Scholl: Yes. And you said it. Because so many women, we were thinking, "Well, gosh, I took this big career break and I'm going to be so lucky for someone to just want me and I don't know if anyone's going to want me. And so if somebody offers me something, I'm going to take it. I'm just going to take it because someone is offering me money for something that I don't know if I'm worthy of."
Janice Scholl: And so what I like women to do is to get a handle, what is it that you want to accomplish in working again? Is it because you're going through a life transition and you do have more time? Is it because you love that sense of accomplishment? Is it financial based or is it really just independence or is it getting back? All of those.
Janice Scholl: And the reality is it's a combination, but our individual mix is going to be different for each person. And so understanding your priorities on those is going to help you determine how and what job is going to be most beneficial. And then the next step is preparing yourself so that you don't feel the need to just take what someone's offering you.
Alice Agnello: Now how would you go about preparing yourself? What I mean by that is let's just say I've been a stay at home mom and now my last child let's say is going to college in the fall or some version of college in the fall. So I feel like I need to start doing something but I just don't know what that first thing should be.
Janice Scholl: So I like to break things down because to me I'm like when things are too big in my mind, nothing gets accomplished. So I need to break it down into more manageable bites for myself. And I look at it as personal development, professional development and networking. Those are essentially the three pieces that you need to get in order to execute a successful return to work.
Janice Scholl: And I intentionally said return to work, not return to your old career, because through the process many find that they are looking for something else. So that first step is understanding why you're going back, questioning your self doubts. The stories we tell ourselves are often more of an inhibitor than the reality we're going to face. Now I've been on every side of the workforce.
Janice Scholl: I've been a professional working mom, I've had two career breaks and I've had career changes and I've gone through it all. I've been part time, so I've gone through the transitions. And I'll tell you, we are all harder on ourselves than the workforce is today. Because the reality is, everyone's careers are evolving and changing so there are more gaps in resumes, and there are more changes that require explanation.
Janice Scholl: So the personal side of that is really understanding, are you your own worst enemy or do you actually have something that you need to overcome and that you need to prepare yourself to get back into the workforce? The other thing I think that's really important is making time. Because the autonomy... I mean, women who are out of the workforce often are very, very busy, but we do have some control over how we spend our time and it's really hard to get into a structure where, how are we going to fit a full time position back into our lifestyle.
Janice Scholl: So creating the right structure in your life, understanding can't versus won't when it comes to your time and what you'll do, those are all part of that personal development. And can't versus won't to me is so important because we often tell ourselves we can't, but it's a won't. And won't is empowering. We make decisions with won't, someone else is deciding for us with can't.
Alice Agnello: So what you said I thought it was interesting is that that voice in your head can be so loud and that self-talk can be just so debilitating to not even allow you to move forward in any direction, even if it's just volunteering at the SPCA just five hours a week just to get back out there. Because I think also what women struggle with is the networking part.
Alice Agnello: A lot of us have become so closed off from the outside world. We might have a couple of friends, maybe even just a couple of friends that we are just friends with, not even true best friends. And also we have limited our scope into our network as to just the people that our children interact with and the people that we show up to soccer or football practice to then interact. And we don't actually look at those people as a network at all in taking that first step forward. So how do you take that first step forward in trying to build your network a little bit more again?
Janice Scholl: So you said it, because I would ask every woman listening to ask themselves, do the people I interact with, do the people I consider my network know what my skills are and what I'm looking to do in my career? Do they have any idea that you're even looking to go back into the workforce?
Janice Scholl: And oftentimes the answer is no because we have this barrier, we silo our lives in some respects where we think, "Well, if I have decided to take a family led career break and my focus is on my family and my children, I can't talk about this other stuff." But I will tell you, the first thing you should do is start having the conversation.
Janice Scholl: Because I talk to women about money, career and business, and I'll tell you the easiest thing to get started in a conversation, whether it's money or business or whatever is talking about asking women why they've made the career choices they've made in their lives. Whether they've decided to stay at home, whether they are a working mother, it takes five minutes to get most women to open up when you come from a place of genuine interest in understanding their story.
Janice Scholl: And the reality is you find out that everyone has a nonlinear path, which again, breaks down that self doubt and that concern for putting yourself out there. So that's step number one, talking to people, making sure they know that you're out there, making sure you understand their story so that you can learn from it.
Janice Scholl: I'm a lifelong learner. I think every human we come in contact with, there is something that we can learn from them. And I'm telling you, every mom you know has something to teach you, whether it's with regards to her career or some other area of her life. And then the next is we also disengage from our old network often when we take a family led career break.
Janice Scholl: And we think, "Well, I don't have anything to contribute. Therefore, I can't continue to engage." And wherever you are on your timeline to get back into the workforce, re-engage absolutely whether it's through... you need to be on LinkedIn, you need to be active. If you're not comfortable posting on LinkedIn, make sure you're making connections, send messages to people individually.
Janice Scholl: If you find an article that you read, and we'll talk about professional development in a minute, but if you find things that are interesting to you, that are relevant to the career path you were in, share that stuff with people, whether on a one on one basis, make schedules to have virtual if we're staying close to home or if you can, in-person coffees to catch back up. It's really just, again, practicing having those conversations with people who have those same line of interests and connections. And look to your personal network and don't think that you have to keep the silo up between personal and professional.
Alice Agnello: No, I a hundred percent agree. Because even when I was taking my eldest to field hockey practice and stuff like that, I was meeting amazing women who, again, you start off with just this superficial way of talking to other women. And then finally you get comfortable and finally start asking questions.
Alice Agnello: And I noticed how I would always prejudge someone. And so I've tried to learn over the years not to do that because a lot of these women were running their own business or helping their husband run their own business, or they were lawyers. And I just never thought of that scope before. And also it is a little hard to put yourself back out there again.
Alice Agnello: However, really social media and LinkedIn has made it easier. And my biggest tip or pet peeve I have about LinkedIn is if you want to make a connection with someone, send them a message that actually means something. It drives me crazy when I get these messages and they're just like, "Oh, we want to connect." And I'm like, "Who are you? What are you and why?"
Alice Agnello: And many a times, they're men so it's an automatic no. But if there's a nice note to go with it to explain who the heck they are, I'm so much more willing to answer questions and help whomever that person is. And even if it wasn't directly from LinkedIn, if it's an email message, hey, I'm getting back into the workforce. These are one of the things I'm looking for. If you know of anyone... I mean, it's as easy as copying and pasting that same kind of template into an email to contact old acquaintances or newer acquaintances just to let people know that you're in the market again to go back to work.
Janice Scholl: Exactly. And when you're talking about LinkedIn, in case anybody has checked out from LinkedIn for a while, the old way of using LinkedIn was you connected with the people that you knew well. And the new way is really as a networking tool to meet the people you want to connect with. And so you do have to... again, it's like the professional work dating app.
Alice Agnello: Yes, exactly.
Janice Scholl: You put yourself out there and you do have to connect with people that you want to connect with. And you will be more successful if you give them a reason to connect with you. And it doesn't have to be a reason like, I'm so awesome, you want to connect with me. It's just showing that you have a shared interest. There was someone who in my network had liked something written by someone else. And I was really inspired by what she wrote and thought it was really important.
Janice Scholl: And so I sent her a personal message and said, "Hey, I really want to connect with you. I love what you had to say on this topic. And I think that we could have a lot to talk about together." And that was it. And it was 30 seconds and it wasn't painful. And the more you do that, the more it works, the more comfortable you get.
Alice Agnello: You listen to that little voice, you know what I mean? And sometimes women, we need to retrain ourselves to listen to the voice to say yes, instead of the constant no, no, no, no, no. And say, "Yes, I'm going to take a chance." It's, like as you said, 30 seconds, I just did it. And you probably felt really good afterwards.
Janice Scholl: Exactly. And it's so important that you... There's a number of things that you've said that I really want to highlight. And first of all, is the judgment piece, prejudging someone else. I have made a conscious decision because of past experiences to draw my line in the sand and say, "I'm not going to judge other mothers. I'm not going to do it because I have been judged."
Janice Scholl: When my first daughter was born, we were going through some incredibly challenging times. And it was so hard to face the honest judgment I was receiving when people did not understand our personal circumstances. And so I said that in there, I'm not going to do that to other mothers. I will come from a place of, let me understand you, let me learn what your experience is so that I don't judge you incorrectly.
Janice Scholl: And somehow doing that changed my mindset. Because now I don't feel the judgment from others like I did. And I'm the person who would like to hide under a rock for most of my life, I feel judged all the time. But I don't feel the same about it because even if someone is judging me, I understand that that's just their own insecurity or their own lack of knowledge that is causing them to think something. And I have no business being involved in that. I have my own business that I am trying to do a good job at, and I don't have to worry about their baggage.
Alice Agnello: No, I a hundred percent agree. I catch myself even now and that's the hardest part, or now it's easier. I'll start doing it and then I realize, "Oh my gosh, what are you doing? Make up a different story about why you are looking at this woman in this way." I mean, it just happened the other day. I was at Target, there was a mom, young baby in the car, she's wearing a mask, the baby's not.
Alice Agnello: And I'm standing there thinking, "Oh my God, how dare she not have a mask on that baby?" And then I said, "Oh my God, the baby's six months old. What does the baby do at six months old? Take off everything." I'm like, "What am I, the judge?" There's nothing... And then I walked away and I realized, I'm like, "Oh my God, that was such not the right thing to do." I was trying to also smile at the baby. And then I realized I had a mask on and the baby can't even see me so this is a waste of time. And so I walked the other way.
Alice Agnello: But I love it when I notice myself even doing that because we as women judge ourselves very harshly and we also then turn around and judge other women very harshly. I always could never understand, because like you, I've been a stay at home mom, I've been the working mom, I've been the part time in between mom, but I always could never understand there's that animosity from the working mom to the stay at home mom.
Alice Agnello: The stay at home mom has more time to do things, the working mom doesn't and therefore there's this imbalance in their lives. And I always hated that. I still see it sometimes. And I don't understand the animosity that needs to be there because my way of thinking is, yeah, she's a working mom. So if I, as a stay home mom, do have a little extra time, guess what? I'm going to go help her because she might not have the luxury to stay at home like I do. So why can't I help her out instead of having this animosity between the two? We're so getting off topic, but I love this stuff, continue.
Janice Scholl: But it's so important. Another thing that you mentioned was saying yes, and I used to be the person who said no to everything. If I didn't have enough information, I was so cautious. And you know what solved that problem? Is moving to the other side of the world with two little kids and having no idea what was on the other side of the abyss that you just didn't even know what's coming.
Janice Scholl: My husband and I like to say we changed from the people who used to say no because we don't have enough information to the people who say yes because we didn't have a big enough reason to say no. And just think through that when you're trying to put yourself back out there and you're actively not judging and not judging yourself. Try to put yourself out there and say, am I doing this out of fear, or am I doing this, stopping myself because I have a valid reason?
Janice Scholl: And often we don't have a valid reason other than I have a yucky feeling in my soul, and we need to get beyond it. And another thing for networking that is really important is strategic volunteering. We often, when we are on family led career breaks, we volunteer our time at our kids' schools and we do different things that are not aligned with either the skills that we want to develop or the skills that we want to maintain.
Janice Scholl: And it's totally okay to do that. But sometimes try to volunteer in a way that will expose you to those skills that you're trying to maintain and that you're trying to develop. And that will then connect you with people who will see what you are capable of because there is no comparison to live experience with you in your element.
Alice Agnello: Because then it gives you a taste and there's no pressure like you have to move forward with that. That's what I love about volunteering, is that I can just do this for a little while and I don't have to say yes to it. Whereas I feel like if I say yes to the job, I better do a good job and I need to put a hundred percent into it because I feel like it's a reflection of myself if I don't put myself a hundred percent into that job. Whereas volunteering, I'm going to it do for a little bit and then I can slowly back away if it's not what I want to do.
Janice Scholl: Exactly. So it takes the risk out of trying something new. It allows you to develop new skills. It is a great way to connect with new people. Because the other thing I see is that we have our personal relationships and then we have our old professional relationships. But then what do we do in the middle when we've decided we're not going back to our old career, but we don't have any connections in the new path?
Janice Scholl: So it gives you an opportunity to meet new people. And when you're volunteering, you often meet people from many different paths, many different walks of life. And that is really important because you want to have a diverse network because you're going to have a diverse career path. And so being exposed to new ideas and different people is the best way to be able to expand that.
Alice Agnello: Do you ever see women who... because I just thought of this, as a high schooler or a young college person, you always have to go do an internship sometimes and it's unpaid. But then you get an exposure to the job that you potentially want to do. Do you see every woman doing that? Like if I wanted to become a dental hygienist, I should go ask my dentist, "Hey, do you mind if I come in on Fridays just to observe how everything works?"
Janice Scholl: I think that it can never hurt you to ask for an informational interview. And I think that's what you're talking about. And there are actual returnship programs for women who are looking to reenter the corporate world. There are a number of institutions who have decided that they really value women who return to the workforce because they have kind of experience and knowledge that they value and just need a little bit of updating on the skills.
Janice Scholl: And so that's one path. But that's really a commitment, right? You're signing up for a program generally with a returnship where the end goal is a full time position with a corporation. But to get exposure to new ideas, absolutely ask for informational interviews, ask your friends about their old career paths or what they're doing today. Talk to their spouses. This is a little side note. But when we were crisis schooling, is what I call what we did in March and April with my kids-
Alice Agnello: I haven't heard that term, but man, that fits exactly to this.
Janice Scholl: I was not homeschooling in my house so I can tell you that right now. But I couldn't replicate school for my kids in every way that filled the day, but what I could do is give them exposure to things that they hadn't seen. So my daughter I'm like, you're interested in engineering. So we're going to interview different types of people in different lines of engineering so that you can get an idea of what this career path could actually look like and the huge diversity under the umbrella of engineering. So there's no reason why we can't do that as adults. And when you go to somebody and say, "Hey, I'm really interested in what you do and I would like to learn more about it," if they have the time, it's pretty surprising when people say no.
Alice Agnello: Yes, no, I will concur with that. And so we've talked about strategic volunteering to kind of figure out maybe a possibility of a new career path for you. So let's talk about professional development and what kind of avenues that she should pursue for that.
Janice Scholl: And this is really going to vary by industry and what you're going into, but there's a number of concerns that I hear repeatedly from women who are trying to return to the workforce after an extended break that they're concerned about. And so to me, the professional piece is really trying to wrap up those areas that we feel like we have gaps in. And so we worry about deskilling if we are going back into the same career path, we worry about technology and changes to the industry, and we worry about paying negotiations.
Janice Scholl: Those are some of the things that the professional side... we can button up skills. And we need to craft a story. So the first thing to do is if you're thinking, "Gee, I want to get back into this industry," or, "I want to get into this industry," start reading about it. Start exposing yourself.
Janice Scholl: We will spend a lot of time thinking, "Well, gee, I want to do this. I have no idea how." But if we're actively engaged in what is happening in the industry, and newsflash, basically all industries are changing right now. So there's something to read, there's something to look into. You want to get started because when you sit down to have a conversation with somebody about it in the future, you want to demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in what that position is about.
Janice Scholl: And it's not just reading blogs from other people and their opinions. What you want to be doing is you want to be looking for credible sources like Harvard Business Review, or look at the top consulting companies that publish tons and tons of industry insights that you can get real research and serious information about the industry that you're interested in.
Janice Scholl: The other thing I love to recommend is that you don't have to spend money on brushing up skills. There's so much out there for us now like Coursera or different alternatives like that where quality universities are putting out certifications that might be next to nothing, or they're actually free courses that you can learn about finance topics, you can learn about coding. You can learn about just so many different things that give you exposure and help you understand the areas that you have gaps in without just saying, "Okay, well, I want a job, now I have to go spend a bunch of money."
Alice Agnello: Right. And the free resources like Coursera is a great opportunity to just dabble a little bit. Because you might be, they call like a multi-passionate kind of person. Like I love all of these different things and I have to either try and maybe concentrate on one or maybe because there are two ways I could combine things, two avenues about myself that I love into that new career path.
Alice Agnello: And the other thing I want to know is then you have to make a decision. And what I mean by that is you could... because you and I both love to learn and I don't know if this is same thing with you, but I can get stuck in learning mode for too long because I just want to learn and learn and learn and learn. I have to realize that, okay, I've learned enough about this and now I need to take that action, now I need to do something about it. Whether it be set up some interviews, go online and see what kind of jobs are available to that. Because I could get stuck in learning mode for the rest of my life if I wanted to.
Janice Scholl: Absolutely. If I had my choice, I would actually just be at university for the rest of my life. So I know that about myself. I find that we're all a spectrum, right? We have the people who are just going to wing it because they just want to get back in and they're so excited and they don't do the research. And then there's me who would just stay in my library the whole time. So we really need to say, okay, well what... assessing your gaps first of all. And then creating a plan, a project plan that involves a timeline.
Alice Agnello: Right.
Janice Scholl: Then you can set something reasonable and you can question yourself. Because when you set the timeline, even if you're the learning type who wants to stay in the research mode, on the front end when you're assessing the project, you can usually set a decent timeline and say, "It's reasonable for me to spend this much time." Or, "I need to check these three boxes to make sure that I have these skills before I go back into the workforce."
Janice Scholl: But then what happens is we get into those and we're like, "Oh no, no, no. We need to spend more time researching this." So setting a goal and a checklist of this is what needs to happen, and then, then what? Then I will finish my resume, I will do this thing. Oh, and by the way, on resumes I highly recommend having a resume writer.
Janice Scholl: I don't write resumes. So I am not trying to sell something here, but I am telling you that when you are grappling with presenting yourself in the best light, and you have self doubt and you are trying to figure out what you want to do, find somebody else who knows how resumes work in the world today and how to articulate it because they often will make you sound better than you would when you're doubting yourself.
Alice Agnello: I a hundred percent agree with that. And the reason is I was an HR manager for quite a while. And the resumes that would come in, I mean, automatic no, no, no. And so even when I wrote my own resume, I had a girlfriend who was a recruiter for a while. So I turned it over to her to give her input and she did magic to it that just made it even better.
Alice Agnello: And I thought I had done a pretty good job to begin with due to the fact that I'm an HR manager, I should know what one should look like. And she still made it look 10 million times better. So even if you don't or you can't afford to have someone look it over, at least have someone who's still working in the business or can write really well, understand the concepts of what it looks like.
Alice Agnello: And also I had a few people ask me in the HR process, is there any way that they could improve their resume, like what's missing. They asked me as the HR manager, how can I make it better? And I was so happy to give them feedback to say, you need to not put this first, put this second, I need more explanation of why you did this. And they were grateful just for even that little bit of piece of information. So I a hundred percent agree with that.
Janice Scholl: There's something else that I want to talk about because when assessing our gaps in our skills and we're saying, oh, gee, we've been out of the workforce. Or maybe we've done some things in and out just to keep ourselves busy over time that aren't necessarily aligned with our ultimate goal in a career path. The reality is people have gaps and people have massive career changes in today's world of work.
Janice Scholl: It is not typical to stay with one company in the same type of role with progression for 25 years. And sometimes I find when we've been out for a while and we're trying to get back in, we have this mindset that that's still a reality. So I want everyone to assess their skills and make sure that you're telling a story that makes sense.
Janice Scholl: And that doesn't mean everything is a gap, I don't have any skills, none of this makes sense together. You can tie anything together as long as you can connect it with what the employer values and what they're trying to accomplish. At the end of the day, employers want people who can make decisions and add value. And pretty much every mother can connect different areas of her life to show how they've done that.
Alice Agnello: Especially as again, HR manager, I would always gravitate towards the resumes who I felt actually read what we had posted and their cover letter addressed some things that I had said in the job description. And if you've got that huge amount of gap, if you want to put that in your cover sheet, do you think it's a good idea or do you want to wait until the interview to actually address that big gap?
Janice Scholl: I have an answer to that. And it depends... Well, first of all, yes. I just think you should put it out there. I think you should be completely unapologetic about the fact that you've taken a break. It's a reality. It's nothing to say you're sorry for. If a company says, "Well, she's got this gap, then I don't know if we should hire her," then that's not the right company for you. And you're not going to hide it by not talking about it in your cover letter.
Janice Scholl: So I think just getting it out on the table is a good thing. I find that what companies want to see is that even if you've taken time out of the workforce, you've remained professionally mentally engaged. And how you demonstrate that is through your volunteering, is through the fact that you've remained up to date on industry info, in the fact that you have tried to enhance your professional skills through skill development opportunities.
Janice Scholl: What I find they don't want to see is a 10 year gap that you just say, "I had a gap," and then you have no explanation of where that correlates to where you're at today. So yes, I've been out of the workforce, however during that time, here's some of the things I had the opportunity to do and how it relates the position you're trying to fill. And it does not have to be for pay. It just has to show that your mindset remained professionally engaged.
Alice Agnello: And I love what you said about then that's not a company that you want to work for. Because I felt like as when I was doing HR, I could always ferret out what I wanted to know. And of course, that's from a good interviewer and the rapport and getting the information that I wanted out of the interviewee.
Alice Agnello: And I would much rather know exactly what's going on in that cover letter, than you give me a resume and I'm like... because that's what I look for. I'm looking for the continuity. Okay, so they took a year break here, I wonder what they did there. Or no break, no break, there's a 10 year break here, I wonder what that's about. And if they didn't address it in the cover letter, I at least wanted to see consistency of a couple of different things as you said.
Alice Agnello: This is what I've done or in the cover letter say, hey, and in the time that I was a stay at home mom, I also volunteered to be with a band, I took care of the boosters, I volunteered over here. And even if you didn't do anything, just give yourself some grace to then take the time to do some of the things that we've talked about today, strategic volunteering, building up your personal development, building up your professional development and just giving yourself some space to not rush through the whole entire process in the meantime.
Janice Scholl: That's right. It's never too late. Even if you do want to start looking for a job tomorrow, you can still include in your plans to start looking doing some volunteering. Or we also have the freelance and gig economy where there are opportunities to do things for pay on a small scale that you can start to reengage. So even if you're looking today and you feel like, "I really do have this gap and it's unexplainable," just start to show that you've reengaged, you're in it.
Alice Agnello: And a lot of the things I think that we've talked about, I really could see a woman who's currently in a job and taking all the tips and different things that you've said and figuring out a way then to, okay, I'm really not happy with the job that I want, I don't want to do this for the next 10 or 20 years. And that's not to say that I have to be tied into the next job for the next 10 or 20 years, but to do some exploration.
Alice Agnello: Because women, I feel like, always give the excuse that I'm too busy. They use the excuse of busyness as the reason why they can't do something. And I challenge every woman out there to really sit down for a week and write down everything that you do and make sure do you have to be the one who's doing it? Could you give it to somebody else? And yes, sometimes that does mean you have to pay for someone else to do those things for you. And are you doing the things that just keep you busy because you want to do them, or are they things that you have to do or you think that you have to do?
Janice Scholl: Yes, absolutely. And so for women who are looking to change careers, I think yes, time is the biggest barrier because we don't have enough. We certainly don't have enough in the world today, it feels like. That can't and won't analysis, really sitting down and saying, "Hey, I can't do this. And I won't do this." And here's a really simple example.
Janice Scholl: I have to do the dishes, right? Every day the dishes are in our house and they accumulate especially right now because we're cooking from home all the time. And even if my kids are helping me, I still... that's my least favorite responsibility. So I can't not do the dishes, I have to do them. So I can't use that time to develop my professional skills, but I can listen to something while I'm doing the dishes.
Janice Scholl: So now I've started listening to courses or different podcasts that are about the industries I want to learn about. So that even the times I don't have excess time, I can't create the time, I can decide how I'm going to change my focus while I'm doing that activity. So it's assessing, do I really need to do this? Yes or no. Can I delegate?
Janice Scholl: Can I batch things? I batch everything I can to make my time more efficient. And then if at the end of the day, you can't avoid it, can you still work within the boundaries of whatever your life's constraints are? Because hoping that the time gets better won't get you where you want to go. You have got to find a way to make it happen with your current constraints.
Alice Agnello: And what I love about what you just said made me think of this. So my mom always cleaned when I was growing up a little bit every single day. And it drove me crazy, I just didn't think that that was the way. But for her it worked because then she felt like she had a little clean part of the house the whole entire week. And that's how she was able then to enjoy, I think, the weekends more because it was done during the week super early in the morning.
Alice Agnello: I would get woken up because the frigging vacuum cleaner was going at 5:30 in the morning, but that side issue. Anyways. But so for me, when I got older and took responsibility of cleaning the house, making sure it was clean, I didn't want to do it during the week. That was the least thing I wanted to do. I wanted to get it done on a Saturday and it's all done.
Alice Agnello: Now, that was my choice, but that was the way that I could handle it and know that at least it was done in there and then I could deal with everything else that I had to do along the week. I did try it my mom's way just to see if it was easier, as you said, kind of like to batch it all in little bits. I just couldn't do it.
Alice Agnello: And so that's what you need to do, is reevaluate how you're doing things to think about, could I get up a little earlier in the morning to do some research on some things with no one around to bother me or I'm I more of a night out? Should I carve out instead of watching TV and zoning out on Netflix for a few hours, should I maybe go do something in the extra bedroom and work on something for just myself?
Janice Scholl: It's a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice because you are going to give up something, whether it's the Facebook scroll or Netflix, whatever. And we do need R&R, we need to take care of ourselves. So I'm not saying just make it a complete grind, but it is a sacrifice because you're probably going to have to trade off time with your kids or time with your spouse or your friends, or something else is going to have to give. But if you don't want to sacrifice, going back to the purpose and what you want to do, are you sure that what you're after is the thing you really want to do? Because it should be something that you are excited enough about to say, hey, I'm going to make this happen.
Alice Agnello: Thank you, Janice. That was a wonderful way to end the interview. That was perfect. So Janice, if someone wanted to learn more about you and what you do, what's the best way to do that?
Janice Scholl: Well, they can come to my website at moneycareermotherhood.com and they can listen to the Money Career & Motherhood Podcast on all of the places you listen to podcasts. And you can also find me in the Facebook community under the same name and on Instagram under the same name.
Alice Agnello: Awesome. All right. So I'll ask questions that I ask everyone. Tell me something that not a lot of people know about you.
Janice Scholl: So I have visited more countries than I have states in the US. So I visited 18 countries and nine states in the US.
Alice Agnello: I've only visited a couple countries and a couple states. So that's awesome that you were able to do that with your family. That's amazing. And so name three things that you can't live without other than your friends and family.
Janice Scholl: Music, chocolate and natural light.
Alice Agnello: I know exactly what you mean. Chocolate, I think, is a theme I see with everyone that I interview, which I love.
Janice Scholl: It's becoming more and more important to me as I age, I'll tell you.
Alice Agnello: I definitely agree with that. I feel like I need a little bit of dark chocolate even though I shouldn't eat it because sometimes they'll give me migraines, but I just do a little. I have to really narrow it down, get some high quality, good chocolates. And then I feel like, yes.
Janice Scholl: Well and chocolate is my wine. I don't drink wine at all anymore. I drink almost no alcohol because of migraines, but I definitely don't drink wine. And so a nice, fine chocolate is my glass of wine.
Alice Agnello: And if you could choose one song to play every time you entered a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Janice Scholl: Feel So Close by Calvin Harris. And that's just because it is such a happy upbeat, you just want to run and it just makes you feel connected to people. It's awesome.
Alice Agnello: I don't know if I've heard that one. This is what I love about this question, is it allows me to discover new music and musicians that I didn't know before. But I feel like I've heard of Calvin Harris, but I'm not sure why.
Janice Scholl: It's an old song, but I don't care. I mean, I just love it. I would sing it for you, but then it would really not be good for your listeners.
Alice Agnello: What I love about, I think, our generation is I know The Doobie Brothers' songs just as well as I know Taylor Swift's songs. I know a huge variety of lyrics and songs and even LL Cool J, I can play stuff too. That's what I love about our generation.
Janice Scholl: Exactly.
Alice Agnello: But thank you, Janice so much for being here today and I really appreciate it.
Janice Scholl: Thank you. It's been a lot of fun.
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