Each of the Relaunch panelists I interviewed had benefited by participating in a return-to-work internship offered by their respective companies. These short-term internships are targeted to midcareer professionals who want to onramp after a career pause. While not promised a job, many who
participate in these programs are offered a full-time position after the end of the “returnship.” While these programs are a fantastic way for companies to fast track talent, the vast majority of returners don’t have the opportunity to participate in some forward-thinking company’s innovative return-to-work program So most Boomerangs figure it out themselves through grit and determination.
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Consider mother of four Susannah Albright, who worked in Silicon Valley for over a decade in high-tech product management with a focus on telecommunications. After her second child, Susannah managed to negotiate a part-time schedule at her company. She stayed working in that capacity through the birth of her third child. It wasn’t until after her fourth child was born that Susannah finally left the workforce completely, but she did so only because her company was downsizing and she was officially laid off.
For seven years Susannah was, in her words, an Uber Mommy. She carpooled, coached the kids’ sports teams, and volunteered at their schools. Then her husband was offered a great job in Jacksonville, Florida, so they decided to move and start fresh. This gave Susannah a chance to relaunch.
It took time to find a house, settle her children into their new schools, and begin building a new life in their new town, but eventually Susannah was ready to return to the paid workforce. Using her college network, she met the CEO of a fast-growing software company who needed marketing help. She started working for him on a contract basis but was quickly pulled in to work for the company full-time. Susannah has since been promoted to vice president of marketing and is responsible for about 25 percent of the company’s head count.
“I’m making more money than I’ve ever made and have more responsibility than I had at the height of my career before my kids,” Susannah told me. “I have no doubt the years I focused on raising my children taught me how to be a better manager and leader. It wasn’t the career path I thought I would have, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Rosine Matthews, senior vice president for Wells Fargo, is another sterling example of the Boomerang path. She relaunched her career in the banking industry thanks to “luck, connections, and the support of other women.”
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