A person sitting in front of a laptop

Have I been out of the workplace too long?

February 3, 2020

This year marks five years since I will have been employed in the workplace. Admittedly one of those years was taken up with being on maternity leave with Piglet. However, five years is a long time to be away from the hustle and bustle of it all. Although I now work from home, have I been away from the workplace too long to return to ’employment’?

Employment history

During my fifteen years within the NHS, I managed to rack up working in five different departments. From catering to Finance, community nursing to a community hospital ward. A stint working for the corporate management team before heading back to the community hospital ward. Which is where my career with the NHS finished after being made redundant. Sadly after fifteen years and eleven different roles, it was time to hang up my lanyard, smartcard and name badge.

A desktop computer sitting on top of a desk

Experience over qualifications

I joined the NHS on a whim, a part-time weekend catering assistant position. That would see me making sandwiches and salads for the patients’ meals, as well as serving up their dinners on trays before they headed out to the wards. It was something to help me earn a little extra money whilst I studied at college during the week for a diploma in public services.

However, with my family moving back to Cumbria I bought a flat with What The Dad Said and moved in together for the first time. Needing money to cover the mortgage and bills, I fell into the trap of doing extra shifts to cover the items that we needed and my college course fell by the wayside.

With only my GCSEs and a half-finished college diploma to my name. I have for the most part been lucky to gain the different roles I applied for. Gaining a move from catering to finance after expressing that it doesn’t take many brain cells to butter bread. Although I didn’t get every position I wanted I did manage to move around and gain experience in a range of different areas.

However, if I were to apply for positions now I would not have the same amount of luck. As many of the personal specifications that go alongside job applications all want qualifications with little or no regard for previous work experience.

Sorry you have not been selected for an interview

Last year, after feeling somewhat despondent with life as a blogger. I applied for a couple of NHS jobs. Roles in which quite frankly I could have completed standing on my head. Admittedly with a refresh of the NHS IT system. However, on both my applications I never even made it to the interview stage. A huge knock to my confidence and making me question whether I would ever be able to return to the workplace.

A laptop computer sitting on top of a bed

Homeworking vs workplace

I am, of course, very lucky in that I have been and currently am able to work from home in a self-employed capacity. However, I’m not sure that this is something that I want to do long-term and I missed the workplace – quite possibly through rose-tinted glasses.

Obviously, working from home has its benefits and I am incredibly grateful to be able to work around the needs of my family. However, it can be all too consuming. Missing the ability to switch off as my laptop does at the end of a shift. Others picking up the slack when you are on holiday or sick. As well as the support (and annoyances) of colleagues. Working from home can be very lonely.

How do I become employable again?

Whilst I would love to study at home to gain some additional qualifications. If I’m honest, I’m just not sure that I have the time or motivation to fit that around family life and earning a wage as a digital content creator (I really dislike the word influencer – so this sounds much better). Not to mention the cost involved with signing up to online study courses.

I need to update my CV to highlight my workplace experience, the different roles I have undertaken and what things learned from each role. As well as looking at my current ‘digital content creator’ role and seeing which skills are transferrable into the workplace. Such has schedule management, communication skills and the ability to work under pressure. Along with a covering letter, I’m hoping that this will at least get me to the interview stage – where my personality can shine and I can express just why I think I would be great for that role.

Is five years too long to be out of the workplace?

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