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Insights: How to Balance a Job and Starting a Family

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights,Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.


Submitted by: WISE NYC Metro member | 6-15 years professional experience

I have been working in my field for nearly 15 years and am considering leaving the workforce to start a family. Will time away from this industry keep me from re-entering? Should I consider working part-time or maintaining my career so I don’t miss out on opportunities for advancement? Is it possible to “have it all” in an industry this competitive?


There is no question it is increasingly difficult to have both fulfilling and satisfying professional and personal lives in this 24/7 demanding, competitive environment. It is certainly a serious, personal choice to exit the workforce to start a family, but many women are successfully doing so.

Here are three tips to consider staying engaged and re-employable with time away from your job:

Don’t leave before you leave. If you are thinking about leaving your job, agree on a date with your employer and have a plan to transition your work but stay focused and “on the job” as long as you are there to maximize your impact and the impression you leave with your boss and colleagues.

Do some “work” while you are away. Find ways to continue to practice your functional skills to stay current, whether that is part-time, consulting or pro bono work using your areas of expertise in your community.

Stay connected. Make an effort to remain in touch with your network — check in with colleagues, attend professional networking events when you can, and use the power of social media to stay in touch and on top of what is happening in your field.

While you may never feel like you “have it all,” with some thoughtful planning and effort you can strike a balance between your personal and professional lives, and be in a better position to return to work when the time is right.

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Bobbie LaPorte

About Bobbie LaPorte

Roberta (Bobbie) LaPorte is founder and principal of RAL & Associates, a consulting firm providing career and leadership development services to technology, financial services and healthcare organizations. Bobbie previously served in GM, COO and CMO roles in several Fortune 50 companies, including IBM and GE. A certified career coach, she has an MBA from Harvard and is a nationally-recognized expert on the powerful relationship between physical fitness and career success, as well as an accomplished triathlete and multi-sport coach.

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