The significance of Reskilling or Returnship struck me hard on my face in the most unusual of places. Last weekend I went for a movie after ages. As I entered the movie hall, one of my favorite's since my childhood, I looked around for the familiar men who usually guided me to my seat with a torch (helping me mind my step). Since I could not find anybody I helped myself, like everybody else, and tracked my seat guided by the illuminated numbers on the steps. As I sank into the cushioned comfort that movie hall seats nowadays provide us with, I realised the redundancy of the torch bearing men. Their role, it seems, has been well and truly usurped by the irradiated steps. It simply struck me that changes in technology are not only fast but also random. Therefore, as professionals we need to be updated on this change to remain relevant.
This assumes a greater significance for women who wish to return after a long break from their personal commitments. I read somewhere about how a woman’s career is impacted by the 3 Ms (“Marriage, Maternity and Mobility”), though not necessarily in that order. Having been a victim of the last mentioned, I could well relate to the opinion expressed in the article.
Returning to the work front after a significant amount of time, could be a challenge. Nevertheless, there is nothing to feel daunted. The wide-scale changes have also influenced perspectives. An increasing number of organizations are looking at distributed work models, flexible work schedules and a host of other alternatives. Nevertheless, it is critical you analyse your individual situation and understand where you stand in this rapidly changing scenario. Therefore, opting for a Reskill or Returnship/Internship program could be a good way to start your second innings.
Challenges in Returnship
Like everything else in life, the practice of Returnship is not without its fair share of challenges. Coined by the leading Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs in 2008, ‘Returnship’ was introduced as a welcoming concept to help people returning from a career break to build their skills and update their employability. However, there are opinions which believe that it is a practice that primarily benefits the employers as they get to use resources for a defined period and then recruit some of them while asking the rest to leave. This, according to some, could lead to demeaning the confidence and experience of these returnees most of whom have been expert professionals at one point of time in their career.
While we cannot really sweep these concerns under the carpet, we can however ensure that as professionals we be aware of what we are getting into. Do your research well, before getting into a returnship. You need to be very sure what you hope to achieve at the end of the returnship. Once you define your path, you need to take sure and steady strides towards achieving your objective.
When you decide to tread the job path the second time round, you need to don your war paint all over again. Do not act as a newbie because you are not. You are joining the returnship program simply to reskill yourself and update your resume not to build a new one. Decide for yourself if the program being offered interests you. You may not have been in action for some time but your spirit has hardly lost the punch or you would not have thought of coming back. Let that spirit guide you to take the right decision. Enquire, ensure and then enact. Step onto the stage only if you think the setting is appropriate.
Several organizations offer exciting returnship programs that help to ease the path of most employees willing to make a come back. Big names in the technology domain like IBM, Infosys, Amazon, Microsoft have all enlisted their support in helping you jump on the springboard successfully. Most of these are largely targeted towards welcoming back women employees in particular. The efforts put in by these organizations have helped to highlight the fact that Returnship/ Internship is an excellent way to reskill and re-employ yourself in the latest domain, technology or trends.
Lost in these thoughts I booked an Ola after a happy movie viewing experience. As my cab arrived the driver looked vaguely familiar. It was when he smiled at me that I realised he was one of the men who showed me to my seat in the movie hall only a few years back. I smiled back realising that the necessity of reskilling has touched every domain and we will be the wiser to wake up to that fact.
You may also want to read other articles written by the same author ‘Tips To Knowing Yourself Better‘, ‘The P-C-R approach to achieve financial stability‘, ‘Emotional awareness for personal and professional success‘, ‘Tips to improve your resume writing‘ ‘Back from the break – 3 tips to make you rock it’ , ‘5 easy and helpful ways to staying motivated‘ , ‘ Alternate Career Options for Women‘ .
About the author:
Amrita is a freelance writer currently based out of Pune. She has worked with organizations as a Technical and Web Content Writer. Her short stories have been published on Amazon and on Juggernaut books. She is an avid traveler and her travel stories are available on her blog – Amritawrites.
(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)
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