Careers Working From Home

Rosine grew up in Texas and is a proud graduate of Texas A&M, where she studied finance. With the encouragement of her professors, she decided to secure a master’s degree in finance and then went into banking, working for a regional bank in Houston after graduation.

In the years that followed, Rosine’s life flourished. She worked hard and then married. Just as the Houston economy began to suffer in the wake of the savings and loan crisis, she gave birth to her first child. While she was on maternity leave, Rosine’s bank, First City, was acquired by JPMorgan and she found herself working for a new, “less than supportive” boss. She asked if she could on-ramp slowly after her six-week maternity leave by working part-time for six months. Her new boss told her to either be “all in or not in at all.” Though she had never previously before thought of quitting and staying home, when her husband got a job offer in Melbourne, Australia, they decided to take the risk and relocate.

During the three years they lived abroad, Rosine didn’t work outside the home. She gave birth to a second child, a daughter, and took up crafting hobbies, including quilting and baking elaborately decorated cakes. While they loved living abroad, Rosine and her husband missed being around family and so decided to move back to the United States. Her husband found a job quickly, but Rosine struggled to get back into the workforce. She took on part-time consulting jobs to help pay the bills while she looked for full-time work. A female banking colleague’s referral and recommendation to an analyst job at the Bank of Nova Scotia was the break Rosine needed.

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“It was a step backward professionally,” Rosine told me, “but the pay was good and I really liked the woman who hired me.” Within four months that woman left and Rosine was promoted into her job as vice president of client relations.

“I don’t know for sure, but I believe my boss knew she was leaving and wanted to give me the chance to get my feet wet as she prepared to move on,” Rosine said. “Thanks to her, I was back on track.” Not long after, she was recruited to another bank and finally ended up at Wells Fargo where she has made her career ever since.

“I have no regrets when it comes to my career pause. It allowed me a chance to explore a different side of myself. Heck, who knew I had an inner Martha Stewart?!” Rosine said, laughing as we talked. “But, in the end, I knew I was committed to my career and I was determined that being home with my children for a few years was not going to be the end of it.”

Rosine believes she was able to re-ignite her career thanks to the two women who advocated for her. “I was lucky they were willing to ‘help a sister out’ and I’ve tried to do that for other women as well,” Rosine said.

“Sisters helping sisters” was a consistent theme in the stories of the women I interviewed, but particularly for Boomerangs. Grace Zales, a friend from my Not-So-New Mothers Group and an executive at Cornerstone Research, a litigation consultancy, said it was her old boss who helped her get back on track after nearly a decade at home.

“Together, we crafted a job that worked for the company and for me,” Grace said. “Without her willingness to help me, it would have been so much harder to get back in.”

Interestingly, 68 percent of respondents to the Women on the Rise survey reported that they believe women who are in the workforce have a responsibility to help those who are trying to reenter. Over half of the respondents who paused and re-entered reported they have actively helped other returning professionals find jobs. However, only 35 percent of those who never left the paid workforce reported they helped another woman get back in after a career break. This may be because they don’t know anyone in their network who has been a stay-at-home parent or it may also be partly a result of an unconscious bias against that alternative path.

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