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At home for ten years: How do I find my way back to work?


Thea took care of her four children and family for ten years. Now the economist wants to go back to work part-time – but what chances does she have anyway?

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And from here out into professional life: not that easy

Photo: Massimiliano Finzi / Moment RF / Getty Images

Thea, 49 years old, asks: »I am a qualified economist and have not worked for ten years.

I'm having a hard time writing this.

I'm always afraid that others will think I'm lazy.

But: I have four children, two dogs and my husband works almost around the clock and around the world for a shipping company.

My chance of getting a job, also part-time and flexible, should homeschooling or other tasks come up again, should be minimal.

But I want to work again.

What do you advise me?'

Dear Thea,

I don't have to tell you now that your problem isn't that others think you're lazy - it's that you think you're not enough.

You brought up four wonderful future taxpayers and write like a miserable heap: I can't do anything, I'm nothing, nobody wants me.


You've already accomplished so much and with a rather low tide of support, to stay with your husband's putative jargon.

That's why it's time to take a deep breath and realize: at 49 you're not automatically old-fashioned, even if you're only a year away from the disgusting 50.

I guess it's not the problem that others think you're lazy, with four kids, dogs, kitchen, ha!

The labor market will not close its doors just because someone falls out of the favorite TV target group »18 to 49 years old«.

But you can smell a weak sense of self-esteem five miles upwind - and mistakenly think of them as technically unstable.

So: make a list of the ten royal virtues that you possess (no, for once, "organization" is not one of them. That's what all mothers say and undersell themselves with it).

Rather write: lead, structure, delegate.

It's pretty similar, but with male connotations.

Write a list of ten viable businesses in your area.

After all, skilled workers are urgently needed everywhere at the moment!

Write a cheeky application and see what sticks.

(Maybe it helps to imagine a super awesome weekend somewhere as a reward? As a reward? So that it's not another "add-on" ON your to-do list, but a tempting carrot... .)

I would also introduce myself to one or the other headhunter.

Always with 30 hours a week in the luggage, because that comes very close to the part-time full-time, as sociologists call it.

And offshoots of the employment office, such as the coordination centers for women and business, often have a feasible, first application tip ready.

It's not about finding the non-plus-ultra, but rather the feasible, possible, not overwhelming.

It's also worth throwing in the acquaintance booster: Which ten friends, neighbors, etc. can you ask if they can set you up with their HR department for a social lunch?

Which companies are neglected in your region, are they perhaps such »gray mice« as the municipal water company, the transport company or the municipal works?

A few years ago there was an enchanting Bayern LB advertising clip (with the even more enchanting Ronja von Rönne ) that reflects well that a company that appears unattractive on the outside can offer exciting opportunities on the inside.

The dream job you never dreamed of as a kid.

If you're a mother of four, you're probably familiar with the sapling game: if you take my children today, I'll take yours tomorrow.

It helps to approach the job in a similarly pragmatic way: hit whoever you get shot at – because after ten years, everyone in your circle of acquaintances has only gotten used to the fact that you don't work.

But that doesn't mean it has to stay that way.

I wish you what you as a mother already have in abundance: patience, perseverance and a sense of humor.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-07-04

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