When Jeannette Hampp left her job as a software engineer at Lockheed Martin, she never imagined the cultural shift that would enable her to resume her career after a 16-year hiatus.
In 2003, Jeannette’s career and family life were taking off simultaneously. She was following in her father’s footsteps by working for Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY, while enjoying her growing family. Then, her daycare situation fell apart, forcing her to explore her options. “Back then, the flexibility of working from home was not available,” said Jeannette, who was told she could work no more than 10 percent of her hours from home. The decision to take time off to raise her family worked best for her situation.
Then, one day, a friend called to tell her about the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) Chapter Next program and encouraged her to apply. With her oldest child, Catherine, starting college, Jeannette could not pass up the opportunity to return to work. She knew that without a program like Chapter Next, hiring managers would have likely frowned upon the 16-year gap when the closest thing she did to programming was building a website for her part-time photography business. While she enjoyed her business, she said “Creating websites is not the same as writing code.”
How has Lockheed Martin supported your re-entry into the workforce?
Lockheed Martin has provided valuable training and professional development opportunities to support my re-entry into the workforce and to help me grow my skills and confidence. Through the Chapter Next program, I’ve also enjoyed networking opportunities and individual-based mentoring.
Returning to work has definitely been a learning curve, but basic programming concepts don’t change very much; there are just new ways that people go about it.
How has having a mentor enriched your work experience since returning to Lockheed Martin?
Since I’ve come back to Lockheed Martin, I’ve been lucky enough to get to work with great teammates who have been willing to mentor me both on a technical basis as well as give overall career advice. It has been both fun and rewarding to come full circle and become a mentor to one of this year’s Chapter Next employees.
What other people, resources, and tools did you rely on during your re-entry into the workforce?
My immediate supervisor, Tim Haller, along with Lockheed Martin’s Chapter Next Program have been extremely influential in supporting my return to work. Tim has supported me by being incredibly flexible as I learned to balance working outside the home while still maintaining my family obligations. Given the recent challenges of mostly telecommuting during a global pandemic, Tim has helped foster an environment where I’m able to easily manage my work hours and still take breaks when needed to help my children with their schooling.
“The Chapter Next program is a great way for our company to connect with an all too often overlooked pool of job candidates that bring proven experience and talent,” said Tim Haller. “Jeannette’s versatility and prior experience has enabled her to become effective across a wide breadth of tasks in very short order.”
How do you balance your work responsibilities with your personal responsibilities?
It feels great to work in an environment that values my contributions and allows for work-family balance. The ability to work from home and shift your work week is so much more family friendly than when I started in 1997. It’s totally seamless.
This change has affected all four of my children, but in a good way. I now have the flexibility to work 30 hours a week and do not have to worry about going into the office on snow days. Technology is so much easier now. If the culture was what it is now 16 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have left. I love how flexible it is now.
What is Chapter Next and how can I apply?
Started in 2018 as a creative way to identify valuable talent, Chapter Next is a Lockheed Martin initiative to recruit individuals who have been out of the workforce for at least two years.
The Chapter Next program is a 12-16 week paid "returnship" for applicants to reintegrate back into a professional setting after leaving the workforce. During a participant’s returnship, the individual is exposed to comprehensive training, professional development, networking opportunities and individual-based mentoring. The end goal is to prepare participants for full-time opportunities, whether through a conversion or through other opportunities at Lockheed Martin.
Four cohorts have been completed with 72 percent of participants finding full-time roles after completing the program. If you’re interested in learning more and applying to our next cohort, visit our Chapter Next page.
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