This week we pause to celebrate the talented women participating in Fall Career Accelerators in San Francisco, Seattle, and Silicon Valley. Women who are returning to work, pivoting their careers, starting businesses, or are discerning what’s next for their prime-age stage.
“Who are these women?” We are often asked that question by those contemplating a career reentry; regardless of education level, education source, and prior work experience. Let’s face it, women in website beauty shots or profiled in return to work books can come across like they’ve always had their shitake together. It can be intimidating to step into that, especially if your pause was a long one, or this transition follows an unwelcome life experience. It’s time to bust some myths. Here are five frequently asked questions, and our let’s-get-real responses.
1.) Is the ReBoot Career Accelerator only for ‘Ivy’ alums? Absolutely not. We are higher ed agnostic. The five ReBoot Accel founders are from private, public, brand name and ‘best kept secret’ institutions; and so are our City Directors and participants.
While the majority have four year+ college degrees, we welcome energized goal oriented women who have not had a chance to attend college, and we have witnessed their career reentry successes.
Particularly as entrepreneurs where independent and non-linear thinking is critical to dreaming and developing new solutions that can sell.
2.) Do I need to have had a management+ career prior to my pause? No. The 700 women who have participated in ReBoot Accel programs across the nation are teachers and lawyers, engineers and marketers, entrepreneurs and financiers, C-suite and admins, creators and consultants, salespeople and civic leaders, ministers and missionaries, and more. They have worked full, part-time, and a few, not at all. They come from all walks of life and are preparing to start, pivot, or reenter their careers through all kinds of work; for-profit and not, including industries or positions completely new to them.
The qualities they have in common are an intrinsic desire to change, an extrinsic need to move forward with their financial and career goals, a bias towards a belief that they can do it, and a growth mindset.
This does not mean they all start with complete confidence. This courage comes as they learn and master new workplace tech and job search skills, excavate and polish up prior skills, reclaim and document professional and avocational achievements, repurposing them in a narrative that speaks to current market needs; and feel the fierce support of their cohort community.
3.) Do I need to know exactly what I want to do next? No. Forty percent of women participating in ReBoot Accel programs are proactively investing in themselves while doing the hard work of dreaming and discernment.
This expansiveness adds to the “What if?” energy of all the participant’s experience.
Some of those who have arrived with more career reentry clarity, end up refining their goals through the design thinking sessions and accountability exercises, or finding new business partners and opportunities through their cohort’s connections.
Others decide to retool completely taking additional courses online or live. Currently, we have alumnae pursuing training in product management, product marketing, digital media, and data analytics at General Assembly.
4.) Does my life need to be perfect before I start? Absolutely not. Our participants are positive prime-age women who are living textured, responsible, and forward looking lives; while also navigating changes in and some losses of homes, jobs, businesses, health, marriages, and family members.
All of those losses have been experienced first hand by the incredibly smart, strong, talented, and resilient women pictured in this post.
We encourage all ReBoot Accel women to identify and bring their valuable learning to their next career stage, including the critical soft skills so many corporations are desperate for and drooling over. Skills like perspective, collaboration, negotiation, mentoring, sticking with it through challenges, and getting stuff done.
5.) What if I can’t afford the Career Accelerator? We are working hard to build our scholarship fund and have a limited number of partial scholarships available for Fall 2017 Career Accelerators. We also have ReBoot Connect groups in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Silicon Valley.
ReBoot Connect offers professional development workshops, meetups, and ongoing community support for an accessible drop-in or monthly membership fee. ReBoot in 30, is our online career reentry kickstart program so you can start your ReBoot online, on your time.
When we started ReBoot Accel two and a half years ago, we set out to improve the work world by increasing the number of talented prime-age women returning to the paid workplace. With every woman we meet and story shared, our commitment to this valuable talent pool increases.
If you are considering returning to your career, please let us know how we can help you move forward with your goals.
Our last Fall Career Accelerator starts in Silicon Valley on October 16. The ReBoot Accel Roadshow Accelerator features six workplace tech and job search skills training sessions at six different tech companies who are interested in hiring top returner talent. Take the entire Accelerator or mix and match individual days to your needs and schedule.