When I quit my job, a well-meaning ex-boss told me to get back to work as quickly as possible or run the risk of losing my self-confidence.
My initial reaction was ‘That doesn’t apply to me. I’m never going to feel low on self-confidence’. I was so sure that she was wrong.
4 years have passed by.
And, I sometimes wonder – was she right all along?
I have learned the hard way now, that the answer to the above question is – Yes and No.
Yes – There are times when we women are likely to lose a bit of our self-confidence.
When you have to quit a hectic and demanding career and find yourself all of a sudden with nothing equally challenging (mentally) to do, you feel the vacuum. When you are used to your talent and potential being utilized and suddenly it lies dormant and unutilized, it has a certain bearing on your self-confidence, especially in the long run.
And No – One does not feel low on self-confidence all the time. There are only certain times when it strikes. For instance, you apply for a position and notice that your current skill sets are inadequate or outdated. Or when you notice that your earlier peers have charged ahead with their careers while you are still on a break. Times like these are when you feel irrelevant and low on self-confidence.
And interestingly, not everyone loses their self-confidence on a career break. Some enjoy the break, others try new things.
But there are ways to avoid the trap of low self-confidence. Here are some easy ways to increase your self-confidence when you are on a career break.
Accept the change
Accepting the change will make you find peace with yourself and your changed circumstance. Constantly second guessing your earlier decision to quit or ruminating doesn’t help. It only creates more internal discord. Accept the change and you will begin to find a change in your perspective towards life. It may even open your eyes to the new opportunities life throws your way.
Getting rid of your internal disharmony is bound to have a positive effect on your self-confidence.
Try your hand at different things
The famous ‘Joy Mangano’ is known world-over for inventing the self-wringing Miracle Mop. She was a divorcee with three kids and out of a job. She invented the Miracle Mop when she tried to solve a ‘cleaning problem’ that she and others like her faced day in and day out. And today, she has over 100 patents for her inventions.
Like Joy Mangano, try your hand at different things during a break. You never know when you are going to succeed. Even if you do not succeed, the effort of trying shows your grit and your initiative. And every new venture brings about learnings, which helps increase your self-confidence just by having tried.
Keep yourself updated with the world around you through the internet and any reading material that you can lay your hands on. A career break is no excuse to not stay updated.
Staying aware of what is happening around you will reflect on your interactions with others and increase your self-confidence.
These are things that worked for me. Let me know if this works for you.
About the author:
Sruthi was an HR Manager, working for companies like Infosys and Thomson Reuters. After taking a break to look after her child, she now freelances. She enjoys developing HR content and writes on topics related to HR.
(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)
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