Managing your career while on parental or adoption leave

Life coach Karen Perkins shares some tips to ensure that you return to work, following parental or adoption leave, raring to go and ready to make a real impact…

Plan ahead

  • Map full, part and flexi-time options and childcare and then get them all costed out on a spreadsheet.
  • Check all your options at work but keep your intentions to yourself.  If you have choices give yourself the best chance to make the right decision, at the time you choose.
  • Planning ahead and thinking about your choices is good, whilst your mind is sharp and not sleep obsessed!

Going back or doing something new ?

  • Have a script or story ready for if your manager or a colleague asks what you are going to do. You choose how and when to decide.
  • Build your allies, ask someone who you can trust at work to keep you up to speed with changes or new job opportunities so you can apply and not be passed over.
  • Find a friend to arrange visits to the office and keep you in touch.  You may feel like making excuses not to see people, so delegate to them before you leave!

Futureproof your existing job

  • Take the initiative with HR. Arrange a 1:1, make a list of questions, ask how they’ll keep you up to speed with any changes or opportunities at work. Suggest your dream hours for a return.
  • Think about skills to brush up on for your CPD. Maternity leave is a good time to do online courses or search the University of YouTube. Write it all down for your CV.
  • Get a LinkedIn or Twitter profile. Keep ahead of news and innovation in your sector whilst on  leave.  You will probably know more than your colleagues when and if you, macbook, desk, wood, hat, Alex Knight

A brilliant opportunity to change jobs or #eeek start a business of your own

What is your dream career or business?

Being away is a chance to think, go to daytime events and network online #babyfriendly.  You‘d be amazed how many start-ups began in cafes .

Grab the opportunity

  • Parenthood gives you transferable skills. Keep a log of what you do …. Ready for your CV,eg running a toddler group, doing social media for a parents group, event management for baby sale, blogging for that cause you now have time for.  Use those late night 30 mins to research your dream career or business and piece together your plan.
  • Think up a business or blog. It’s a great opportunity to start while you are off.  Business Sheffield does free Start Up training. Get on  and look for free parent friendly networking and daytime events to test out your business idea!2017-03-24-12-30-00

Follow your passion and use online careers help

  • What would you really like to do? Do what feels right for you. If you love your job, or have to work full-time, remember that lots of people do and their kids turn out OK.
  • Visit Guardian or Telegraph careers websites. The National Careers service has a free online career planner and quiz, as does the Prospects website. Sign up for job alerts.
  • Go job shopping on LinkedIn…maybe turn your settings to a grey blob unless you want people, or your next employer, to see you. Get a fab photo and add keywords to spruce up your profile.

Look after yourself

  • Do yourself a mini-pamper routine on a post it note and do it each day. Start with something easy and keep going. It’s called #habitstacking and helps build your self esteem.
  • Enjoy your time off !Be kind to yourself. Don’t be a #superparentmartyr. Dump guilt!2017-04-12-14-47-48
  • Listen to all the advice but go with your instincts. Have lots of cuddles and don’t worry too much about housework. Just enjoy it!
  • Look after your relationshipA fab book is Andrew Marshall’s ‘I Love You but You Always Put Me Last’.

Karen Perkins

Karen Perkins @fabcoach, Ecclesall based mum of two, worked full-time, part-time then set up her own career and life coaching business and blog.


Managing your career while on parental or adoption leave originally appeared in issue 171 of LINK magazine.

If you have something to share about life in Sheffield or some pearls of wisdom of interest to parents and carers of small children and would like to write an article for the magazine or or blog for the website, email link.onlinesocial@gmail.comor submit it here.




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