When looking at stats on people who return to work after a career break, studies are cited that show taking a career break for three years or more results in a compensation hit of 37%. The problem with these stats is that they mask the intentionality behind decisions to take a lower compensated role. After years of working with thousands of “relaunchers,” we have found the reasons for taking lower compensation fall into five categories:
Unsurprisingly, relaunchers in these situations are frequently called “overqualified.” For some this is a veiled form of ageism. For others, the interest in a lower compensated job is intentional, and must be explained. If this describes you, here’s a “script” with a recommended response. Practice saying this out loud so you will be able to respond immediately in a way that educates the interviewer as to the intentionality behind your decision to apply for a more junior or lower compensated role:
“One of my top priorities is to deliver excellent results to my employer, while also managing my life outside of work. So while it might look to you like I am overqualified for this position, this is exactly where I want to be in my current life stage and I intentionally targeted this position at this level. I know I can succeed at this level of seniority and feel very satisfied doing it. ”
Have you relaunched in a lower compensated role? Please share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Fishman Cohen is the CEO of iRelaunch, a career reentry firm that runs the iRelaunch Return to Work Conferences and works closely with companies to create formal return-to-work programs, usually involving professional internships. Her full bio is here.
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