Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin are the authors of Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, a book offering strategy and advice to women resuming careers after extended time at home with children. With nine kids between them, Carol and Vivian have both taken time away from their demanding careers and have successfully returned to the workforce. Their book is filled with specific tips and suggestions for moms who are thinking about returning to work after taking time off and it is based on their personal experiences as well as interviews with more than 100 women who have successfully made the transition.
If you're thinking about going back to work or are going through the process of relaunching your career, you'll find some great advice as well as much-needed support in this book.
Your book, Back on the Career Track, is a practical guide for moms who stayed at home to take care of their kids and now want to return to the workforce. What inspired you to tackle this subject and write a book about it?
Back in 2000 and 2001 when we resumed our careers after multi year breaks, or “relaunched” our careers as we call it, we felt alone and without a game plan. (We didn’t know each other then.) At that time, no one was talking about going back to work – not in our neighborhoods, not on the internet, and not in the mainstream media. In fact the conversation about opting out was just gaining traction, culminating in Lisa Belkin’s New York Times Opt Out Revolution article which did not come out until October 2003!
So our major motivation in writing Back on the Career Track was our feeling that no other mom should have to go through what we went through when trying to relaunch her career. We have culled the wisdom gained from our own experiences and those of over 100 women who have made the transition from home to work into our 7 Steps to Relaunch Success, the strategic plan for resuming a career after a hiatus featured in our book.
Based on your research, what are some of the common misconceptions that moms have about returning back to work?
One misconception is to view “Should I return to work?” as one big question. We think moms tend to get overwhelmed by all the issues involved in the back to work decision and wrap them all up into this one big question. This leads to what we call the Floundering Period – it was two years in Carol’s case – when a mom knows she is restless or unsettled in her current mom role and either for financial or other reasons, wants to go back to work but just can’t figure out how to make it happen. So she stews on it and thinks about the roadblocks and as a result, she flounders and nothing happens.