Heidi had mixed emotions as she put newly purchased school clothes in the closets. At the end of the last school year, her youngest-child walked himself to the bus stop. Last evening, once their children were all in bed, her husband had called this “the end of the era.” He was referring to the 14 years since their first child was born and she had happily quit the working world to become a “full-time Mom.” Now, their baby would not even let them accompany them to the bus stop. Like his older siblings, their youngest was now committed to after school activities each afternoon, so she would be alone in the house each day until just before dinner time.
Heidi’s friends with slightly older children had loads of advice on how to embrace this opportunity. Yoga classes, volunteering, gardening, new hobbies or sports interests. The recommendation she found most helpful was from Stacey, a neighbor who reported to her about how much the working world had changed in those years since just before Covid.
Stacey continued, “Late July, early August is the best time to look for a job that starts when your children return to school. There are many openings for jobs beginning in September. Now is exactly the right time to explore some opportunities.
Stacey shared that Abel Personnel helped her find a remote position. The great thing about the position was helping senior citizens obtain low cost prescriptions, all while working from home. The work was rewarding and the project ran several months. When the position was drawing to a close, Stacey was asked to become a permanent employee with full benefits. She decided against the permanent role, but she plans to return next year to work on the same project.
Stacey shared the phone number of a recruiter at Abel Personnel that had guided her. “I think you will really like Barbara, she listens to your interests and concerns.”
Heidi wasn’t ready to commit yet to how she would transition her daytime hours, and wanted to stay open to all possibilities. She was also a bit skeptical about how much the workplace had evolved over those intervening years.
The First Surprise – Interview Choices
Her first surprise was that she was not immediately told that she needed to come to the Abel office for an in-person interview. The Abel receptionist offered several available times for a video interview with a recruiter. The interview could either be during the day or in the evening. When Heidi admitted, with some embarrassment, that she did not have a video conferencing account, the receptionist emailed her a link to download the free connection. Within 10 minutes the initial interview was set.
Two days later, the Abel recruiter, Barbara, asked all the questions that Heidi anticipated: training, experience, positions sought, desired compensation. There were also queries Heidi did not recall being posed when she had last looked for a job. What hours would she prefer to work? Would she prefer to work from an office, from home or in a hybrid situation? How many hours per week? Set schedule or flexible hours? The recruiter’s approach made Heidi feel like a valuable player rather than an out-of-touch mom.
After understanding Heidi’s preferences, the recruiter asked Heidi if she had updated her resume. “I’m still not sure that I want to go back to work,” Heidi reiterated. “That is completely your decision,” the recruiter assured Heidi, “Keep me posted if your needs change.” She could explore this option and then decide not to pursue work, or perhaps not to pursue a position through Abel. There was no obligation and no fee. If she did secure a position through Abel, there would still be no fee to Heidi. With that verified, the recruiter provided Heidi with some guidelines and suggestions of how to update her resume from the early 2000s to the 2020s.
Six weeks later – About to start a Remote Job
Heidi had decided to explore work. She and Barbara had discussed a few options, and the one which appealed to her most was helping an association with their annual conference. Most of the work could be done remotely but there were periodic visits to the local office, and of course, she would help out during the conference. The project would last a few months. Now, she and Barbara met for coffee, the first time they actually met face-to-face. They discussed her first two weeks of work and how it fit in with her schedule and family.
Six months later – A permanent job
Heidi thoroughly enjoyed the stimulation of working, plus having a paycheck to ease her family’s tight budget. Remote work enabled her to wear a very casual wardrobe, although she dressed more professionally if she went to the office, and of course at the conference. Heidi’s work ethic and skills had been recognized by the association. They offered her a permanent job on a hybrid schedule. The temporary project had been a good trial for Heidi and the association. Neither party had planned this outcome, but it made great sense when the initial project concluded.
The following spring, when a woman from her church was echoing the lament of her youngest having reached a new level of independence, Heidi was pleased to make the same referral to the Abel recruiter who had helped set this new pathway.
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