So the dust has settled from your divorce, and now you’re (sort of) ready to start picking up the pieces and building a new life! “Life 2.0”, maybe even--or in my case “3.0”. If, like me, you were a “stay-at-home-mom’ who didn’t work “outside the home”, whatever that means (I seldom stayed at home and I did lots of work nobody else would do), and the extent of your computer and IT or whatever they call technology knowledge these days is knowing that your iPhone needs to be updated every so often (but you’re not quite sure how this happens), you need to take a refresher course before you attempt to rejoin the workforce.
WAAAAIIIIIT a minute…you might be saying, “rejoin the work force?? You mean, get a JOB??” Honey, that rent ain’t gonna pay itself, and you’ve got to get back out there if you want to afford to live after the spousal “support” and child support (in my case a laughable fraction of my actual basic expenses) run out. Not to mention all the personal upkeep and wardrobe updates you’re going to need if you start dating again!
When my first marriage broke up, my children were little-just four and five years old. We lived in a city famous for its high murder rate, with a terrible public school system; one of my major priorities was to send them to private school (don’t judge me!). My husband—not a nice person—decided abruptly that, since he felt the divorce was my fault, he would not support that expenditure by adding anything to the whopping $928 he gave me in child support. Rather than try to extract blood from the cold, hard stone that was and is his heart, I decided to go back to work as a teacher at the school where my daughter was to start kindergarten, as a teacher. Not only would this guarantee me a paycheck of $3000 a month, it gave me the huge benefit of 70% tuition remission, along with health insurance and a great 401K that included matching. So, while $36K a year doesn’t sound like much, I got a lot of bang for my buck, because that measly 3 Gs bought me independence, freedom, self-esteem…and a steep discount on a fine education, so I didn’t have to feel guilty about that particular ripple effect on my children. And I got my name out to the parents as a tutor, picking up an extra $100 an hour, a couple hours a week. Just like that, I was back on my feet, out in the work place meeting new people, with lots to live for…outside as well as inside the home.
So, I reiterate, it’s time to think about how you’re going to get a job and take care of yourself and your children if you have them. First of all, it’s a whole new world of sophisticated applications and programs (what the heck is Dropbox?) out there, in addition to all the advancements in Microsoft Office Suite technology that have been made, and you’re going to have to understand how to leverage social media in the majority of jobs if you want to compete with the dreaded Millennials. Also, if like me, your resume (hint: call it a CV, like the cool kids do now) is woefully out of date and/or printed charmingly on pink paper, you’re going to need to update it and learn how folks are doing cover letters in today’s crowded market. And I’ve got one word for you: NETWORKING. You’ve got to meet people or identify folks you know who will be able to open doors for you.
But take heart: one of the many benefits of being part of an online “Divorce Community” like ModernShift.com is that we have help and support and contacts for you. Start by doing a “Returnship”, with a cohort of like-minded returnees who—like you—want a career with purpose. Inspiring Capital’s Women’s Returnships run six weeks and meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am-3 pm in New York City and Greenwich, CT. Modernshift.com already offers a resource area where you may hang your shingle of expertise and is also expanding to host a job board for those that are looking for new employment opportunities.