What’s It Like Returning to Work after Extended Time Off?

Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 by The Career GuideNo comments

Coming back to the workplace after some extended time off can be very daunting and it’s not talked about enough. Many people return to a new job after they’ve been off for a variety of reasons; perhaps they were off work caring for their young children, took a break to study, or decided that retirement didn’t suit them just yet.

Whatever the reason, there are some common feelings and experiences. At our London recruitment agency, we’ve been chatting to those who have recently returned to work to see if they have any tips to share.

Don’t feel like an imposter

Sadie told us, “It’s really easy to feel like an imposter coming back into the workplace after extended time off, but you were hired for a reason! When you were recruited, they could see that you had what they needed. So feel confident in your position.”

Fatima agreed: “I think it’s easy to feel like you don’t deserve the role when you’ve had time off. Particularly after maternity leave, it can feel like you don’t fit into the workplace anymore. Try to remind yourself that you belong here just as much as anyone else.”

The money is welcome!

Elinor had taken early retirement during the pandemic but has returned to work as a corporate EA. She said, “With the cost of living crisis pushing up my outgoings, I’m so relieved about coming back to work. I made the mistake of thinking I would have to take a lower salary than before I retired. I’ve come back in on a higher wage and it’s great!”

Choose flexibility

“I think the key is to choose a role that brings the flexibility you need,” said Ashleigh. “There’s a reason you were out of the workplace for a long time. For me it was chronic illness. It made sense to ensure I came back into the workplace with more flexibility. I’ve chosen to come back to a part-time role, which works well for me.”

“I’ve had a similar experience,” Kieran told us. “I took some time out of the workplace for personal reasons and when I returned I realised I couldn’t do it in the same way as before. Now I am working in temporary jobs in London. This means I can work flexibly to suit me.”

Get support

Raj said, “It’s worth getting new training, refresher courses, and support from others when returning to work. I hadn’t worked for seven years while at home with my young children. It was so daunting to come back into the workplace. Love Success supported me with refresher software courses and I’ve reached out to others for support with the transition. It’s been tiring and a big adjustment, but I’m so glad that I’m able to focus on my career again.”


There are many reasons why you may have left the workforce for an extended period of time. From knowing how to explain this on your CV to managing the transition back into the workplace, our consultants are here to help. Get in touch on 020 7870 7177.


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