Getting Back to Work After Depression
You may be getting back to work because you feel ready to do so or because you have to for financial reasons or otherwise. Whatever your reason, it is probably a pretty daunting thought right now but then again so is anything after you’ve been away from it for a while. Think how worried we are about going into a new relationship, often to find that it is our best relationship yet. Or think about how you used to dread your first day back at school after your summer holidays but it was never as bad as you feared and you got to see all your friends again. Or think about how we think that we will have forgotten how to ride a bike after 20 years but it all comes back to us quite easily and is just as much fun again.
I am sure that we can all think of something at some time that we feel sure we have forgotten but when we come to do it or think of it again we haven’t forgotten. It’s just mentally tucked away in a box somewhere until we need it again. Have faith! It’s just our fear that makes us think this way. Try ‘dancing’ with the fear rather than fighting it and you usually end up having a good time.
Lack of confidence is common after a break from anything never mind a break because of mental illness, which is not surprising given that mental illness and depression is one of the hardest things to overcome. If you have beaten depression, you can do anything. Nothing can be worse than that. Anything else will be ‘Easy peasy, lemon squeezy’ as they say.
What to write on your CV?
Be positive on your CV and in interviews. Employers want enthusiastic, energetic people to drive their businesses forward not people who dwell on past problems and difficulties.
What you write on your CV is personal choice but no-one would ever condone lying on a CV. A CV is not standard and does not have a preset list of fields to be completed, therefore if the CV does not include a field about illness as a question, it does not require answering. However an Application Form
that asked health/medical questions could not be ignored, or if you reached interview it is recommended that you would need to raise and discuss it at the interview - or all trust is lost. Furthermore,
if it has led to a period out of work and unexplained gaps in employment, then again you will need to think again how you handle it. See the ‘Monster’ article on getting back to work after a break -click here.
It can be a good idea to work with an agency like Monster who are used to writing all manner of CVs and have good relationships with employers. They will be able to help you mention your illness, your break and your recovery in a positive way. Monster work with individuals and create CVs for individuals, so they include a 30 min/1 HR+ telephone consultation that would raise the issues an individual faced and between them and the Consultant, they would agree a personal method of approach.
Always remain positive. Rejections are part of life. Just think how many times you’ve been turned down by a prospective girl/boyfriend! Each ‘no’ that you get moves you closer to that all important ‘yes’.
If we ask someone to do something and they say no - they are rejecting the thing, not us. So the same could be said for a job - if we are rejected, it may mean that at this moment, our skills and experience are not the best match for the vacancy - but they are not rejecting us as a person! So the rejection is at a skills level not at an identity level. If we accept it’s at a skills and experience level, we can do something to change that - but if we mistakenly take it on as a rejection of our self - then we can take that deeper and it can plug into feelings of I’m worthless or I’m not good enough.
Full Time, Part-Time and Voluntary Work
If you can demonstrate to an employer that you have been doing everything you can to find work and keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date, most employers will overlook the fact that you have been out of work for a while.
Voluntary work can be a good way of easing your way back into work. After a period out of work, we can feel that our work efforts don’t warrant payment or that payment would add unnecessary pressure right now. Voluntary work also demonstrates determination to find work and could open up new career options and contacts.
Flexible working hours and job sharing
The fear of going straight into full time work should not deter you. Many employers offer flexible hours or job shares to make the work: life balance easier.
In the meantime, it might be a good idea to:
- make sure that your skills are up to date. Don’t forget that a lot of skills you use in everyday life with a family are transferable skills.
- Think about what type of job and career you would enjoy. Knowing what you want allows you to narrow down your search and spend more time applying for jobs you want.
- Keep your ears open. Not all jobs are advertised. Word of mouth can be very important.
- Networking on the internet; through business groups and socially can help you get the job you want.
- Get into the habit of setting your alarm clock and getting up as if you were going to work.
- If you feel that you have lost your confidence, take small steps to build your confidence like doing things you wouldn’t normally do or that you have been putting off or by mastering a hobby. A sense of achievement is excellent for boosting your confidence.
- Visualise yourself positively in your dream job or in the job that you are applying for. Everything starts as a dream. If you can visualise it, you can do it.
- Know that only you can make this happen and go for it! Enjoy the journey and good luck.
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