I am supposedly in one of the best phases of my life. Wondering how? Tada… I am a brand new mom of twin boys. No doubt life has been a roller coaster ride, almost upside down, but every bit of it is worth my time and energy!
While everything looked perfect on the personal front, things were not going as planned professionally. I intended to take maternity leave for 4 months. But I am professionally on leave from my consulting job for the last 6 months and it seems it’ll continue for a few more months. I must say it’s difficult to plan things when you are a mother of twins!
These days when I am free from deadlines, client’s email alerts, and work pressure, I have plans to make most of my break doing things I never had time to do. Oh! I am making plans again, I hope my boys let me follow this one!
Here are my two little cubs: Viren and Vivaan.
I believe that it is the best time to invest in myself. My career break has given me the opportunity to examine my 7 years of experience and helping me evaluate my career path, to see what I have accomplished so far and where I see myself going.
Here’s a five-point agenda during my career break… I would rather call it a sabbatical (without pay, of course).
1. Increase My Domain Knowledge: I find it is the best time to improve my domain knowledge and update my skills. I have already made a list of topics I am going to work on. While doing that, it is also important to create a reasonable deadline for each topic (viz. one week, one month…), otherwise you will end up spending most of your time on Facebook . It is also beneficial to document things that you have learnt in the form of eBooks, whitepapers, blogs etc. It is the best time to create your own resource. It will be an asset as you can add them in your resume once you are back to work.
2. Update Website: I launched my personal website in February 2014. Since quite some time, I was toying with the idea of updating it with recent trends and my new experiences but was delaying it because of time constraints. Now I have the time to invest in my own website. It has manifold benefits: a) let my clients know about my new expertise b) new content on the website is always an important search engine ranking factor c) I can expand my business to new domain once I am back from my leave.
3. Social Media Updates: I manage social media accounts of most of my clients but I hardly get time to update my own. Most of the time, I rely on RSS feed of some of my favorite sites like Search Engine Watch, Entrepreneur, Social Media Examiner etc. But now when I am off work, I get time to update my own social media accounts, connect with industry influencers and keep myself updated on what‘s happening around. This practice will connect you to your industry even when you are off work. The idea is to keep yourself professionally engaged.
4. Read…Read…Read: You cannot get a better time to read as this. Online marketing is a domain that has something new added every day. I spend a lot of time reading articles, blogs, eBooks, and white papers related to my domain. I also love to read about entrepreneurship and startups. It gives me a lot of ideas and insight about my own business. My tablet and my kids are my best buddies these days.
5. Enjoy Every Bit Of Your Kids Growing Up: I feel blessed to be with my kids 24/7. I must confess that it’s not a fairytale. There are times when I do feel frustrated and irritated but I can vouch that witnessing your kids growing up is an exhilarating experience. This time is not going to come back.
Things listed above are no mean feat to achieve since I get time to do them only while they sleep!
…or when they are busy playing with their dad!
I would like to end my post by saying that whatever be the reason for your career break–sabbatical, maternity, travelling–be honest about it with your future clients or employers. All these experiences add to your skills, confidence, maturity, and knowledge that you can ultimately offer them. Be proud of the break you took and justify why you had it. Till then love what you do.