What’s the right level to re-enter the workforce at (Entry-level or Mid-level)?
With the two certification programs in progress, I realized I’m in the midst of re-entering the workforce. One of the challenges I’m dealing with is deciding what’s the right level to re-enter the workforce, entry-level or mid-level?
As I go through the motions of applying for jobs, I noticed how I struggle with the gut feeling that I should not be applying for an entry-level position despite my experience.
As an experienced manager, I can understand how future employers would wonder why an over-qualified applicant apply for an entry-level position.
Today, HBR (Harvard Business Review) sent an email newsletter with a simple sentence that caught my attention. Well, it’s not so much a sentence but a statement.
Prioritize opportunity, not prestige.
That statment made me click on the link to the article 1. The article discuss whether you should accept a lower-level job opportunity when you re-enter the workforce or not.
It’s an excellent topic with a few insights that resonated with me.
You have to have a little bit of humility in coming back. That would bother some people but not me. I just wanted to work with people I enjoyed, doing work I enjoyed.
Sue Dodick, Investment Director at SAFO Investment Company (LinkedIn)
This was my biggest concern. Not so much in regards to having humility but showing employers that I am embracing a little humility in my desire to work for them.
But would these employers understand that?
I needed to get the boat in the ocean and then steer it.
Kuae Kelch Mattox, Editorial Producer at CNN (LinkedIn)
I couldn’t have worded it any better or so eloquently myself. You can’t get the ball rolling unless you push it somewhere. After I got the boat in the ocean, I started figuring out where I had to steer it.
In other words, I had to find the right job to apply for.
The first job back is temporary. It is just the start of the rest of someone’s career post-career break, and while it is important to feel the level and salary make sense and are fair all around, the next step is equally important — where do they go after that first role?
Michelle Friedman, Founder of Advancing Women Careers (LinkedIn)
This is the nail that drove the point home. There’s no shame in applying for an entry-level position with a company you want to apply for. You are clearly applying for a role-based position with the goal to promote yourself.
Everyone wants to climb the ladder.
Where do you want to go after that first role?
This was an excellent question to keep in mind. It reminds me of the an old article about how everyone’s a free agent 2 That was part of the challenge for me to get back into the workforce after running the rental property business for five years.
Where did I want to go after that first management role? At first, I did struggle with the answer. Fortunately, the first part of the answer was clear to me.
I wanted to go remote.
But doing what? That was the question. Eventually, the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place as I found an opportunity with an event management SaaS startup company.
The cofounders recognized my range of experience and skills and realized I was well-suited to manage their operations.
I informed them that I was willing to do the work because it would free up their time to focus on developing other areas that was critical to ensuring future growth.
As a result, I came onboard as an Operations Director.
Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.
One of the top ten interview questions is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” 3. I know now that I see myself involved in the areas of customer service, customer support, and operations.
More specifically, from a web developer point of view.
- Advocating for web accessibility.
- Working with clients to solve their operational issues.
- Working with clients to grow their accessible business.
- Working with clients to improve their customer service and support areas.
Refining the double-edge sword of prosperity.
It’s a challenge for anyone to achieve their vision of a better life. In my case, it seems to be a mind over matter issue of striking the right work-life balance. No one can work forever, but we all can do projects together.
Whether it’s as an employee or as an independent contractor, it’s all temporary until we retire permanently. It’s a matter of balancing opportunities as they come. Sometimes, it’s one or the other, sometimes it’s both.
That’s why I’m building up my skills to work as a front-end WordPress developer and operations specialist. So I can offer my services to the best clients and employers who are willing to work with my goals for prosperity.
What are your thoughts?
I welcome your thoughts on re-entering the workforce. It can be scary but it can also be liberating. It can be fustrating but it can also be rewarding. Regardless of whether you are already employed or self-employed, why would you want to re-enter the workforce at a lower-level?
- Harvard Business Review Should You Accept a Lower-Level Job After a Career Break?
- Fast Company Free Agent Nation
- Big Interview How to Answer: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?