The term ‘40-Year-Old Intern’ was first seen in a Harvard Business Review article way back in 2012, where those professionals who took an extended break from work sought to return to work through various returner programs or now called returnships. Although these vary from company to company, one cannot deny the benefits to both the candidate and the company. Not only do returnees find their way back on the career path, but companies also dive into a diverse pool of professionals who often have several years of experience, which benefits the workplace.
Today, there is a strong business case for second career candidates which means that a career break no longer has to be a deal-breaker
In the last few tears, returnship programs have really skyrocketed in countries like India, the US, and the UK, and many if not all people who are a part of such programs have deemed them a lifesaver and a godsend for their respective careers. However, there were so many hurdles that many were forced to overcome in terms of flexibility, and now, so many jobs are operating from home and many companies are hiring professionals in different parts of the country. Who would have thought that working from home would be accelerated within a matter of a few months, no one could have anticipated this even in early 2020. Hence, today there is a strong business case for second career candidates which means that a career break no longer has to be a deal-breaker for professionals, particularly women because they are the demographic that take more career breaks than men. But the reality in India is that women are not always encouraged to come back to work, especially from their families for various reasons. Whether it is the income effect or just good old guilt mongering, many women are branded selfish for trying to focus their efforts on their careers again.
Companies need to realize that many women do not mean to take a break for a number of years
People have the right to take a career break, but they also have the right to return to work if that is what they want. The day a woman says, “I want to go back to work,” and works towards this goal is the day that she really carves out her own destiny. Also, companies need to realize that many women do not mean to take a break for a number of years because sometimes, it’s hard to go back when the time is not right, because let’s be honest, life does get it the way. Today, in the wake of COVID-19, companies are opening their doors to those on a career break because the hiring pool is wider than ever and employees are working from home; a win-win for both parties. Therefore, women must take complete advantage of these opportunities because companies are coming to their fingertips (literally speaking), through various platforms. The time to return to work is ripe, but will women grab the opportunity?
Image credit: The Fuller Life