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Returning to Work Without Re-Launching Your Career


The Career Resource Center

The Career Resource Center is there for Alums throughout the many phases of their careers.

Taking a break from the full-time workforce doesn’t mean taking a step back when you’re ready to return

by Brianna Koucous, Director of Career Resources

People’s careers and lives are constantly changing. As you grow older and embrace “adulting,” the factors impacting your career compound: aging parents, love, bills, unemploy- ment, children, home and business ownership— the list goes on and on.The beauty of a career is that it doesn’t look just one way, and a 40-hour workweek is no longer the only option.

You may choose to take a break from the full-time workforce. While juggling various roles in life, it is important to manage your career even if it is not currently your highest priority.If you maintain your network and perfect or develop new skills, you won’t have to re-launch your career because you’ll never fully leave.

When Jessica Payne (MBA ’03) was expect- ing her first child, she knew she would haveto leave her job as an event manager with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She needed to get creative about how to find the perfect fit for her- self and her growing family. She loved her work but knew she would not be able to keep up the hours and high stress of event management.

Jessica opted for a career she could build around working mostly from home while raising

children—including working as an online men- tor for college students and as a development manager forThe FirstTee of Utah. She also joined the Utah ScienceTechnology and Re- search initiative at the University of Utah as an intern. “While many of my job titles over the last few years haven’t been prestigious, they have helped me keep my skills relevant and my mind sharp,” Jessica says.

When looking to step out of the full-time workforce, you need to be flexible. When life happens, your best strategy is to take some time to think about what you want: consider your options, think long term, and don’t feel limited to only what you see. Staying connected to friends, family, and colleagues is important.

Jessica admits that formal networking activities are not always realistic or appealing. “Suddenly, every invitation and event has to be measured against the ability and hassle of find- ing a sitter,” she says. As an introvert, formal networking is not Jessica’s preferred way to stay in touch, so she uses social media sites to tell everyone she interacts with about her goals and aspirations. “Almost all of my opportunities

are the result of me voicing what my ‘dream scenario’ would be to anyone who will listen and being matched to people with an opportunity,” Jessica says.

Another option if you are looking for re- warding opportunities that do not require the commitment of a full-time job is volunteer work. Exploring volunteer projects and opportunities with organizations is a great way to research and identify the next phase of your career. Not only will you build skills, but you’ll also make connections inside the organization.

As your life and career unfold, you adjust and grow. “Go into your decision with your eyes as wide open as you can, and make a decision that is right for you,” Jessica advises. If you plan to take a break, consider the big picture. Deter- mine what you want from this phase of your life, but also consider the phase that will follow.

Westminster offers many opportunitiesfor you to volunteer and network.The Career Resource Center gives alumni access for life. “Pretty much every job I’ve had since I gradu- ated has been the result of, or been helped by, someone I knew at Westminster,” Jessica says.


If you aren’t sure how to plan or where to start, attend an event, find a mentor, or make an appointment at the Career Resource Center. Find more information at



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.