Return to the Workforce and Break Into a STEM Career By Using Your Unique Skills and This Program

Sponsored by Eaton

Carolyn Abbott and Preeti Venkataramani. Photos courtesy of Eaton.

Carolyn Abbott and Preeti Venkataramani. Photos courtesy of Eaton.

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April 14, 2024 at 5:45AM UTC

Are you considering rejoining the workforce after time away due to a maternity leave, bereavement, layoff, or other source of a career break? “As anyone who has faced reentering the workforce after a break knows, the process can be daunting and discouraging,” notes Carolyn Abbott, who has gone through this process herself. “While reentering the workforce has its challenges, it provides a unique opportunity to reevaluate our values and career direction using both our past experiences and new skills”,” she continues.

Preeti Venkataramani, too, reentered the workforce after a break and shared this piece of advice: "just because you left the workforce doesn’t mean you stopped learning.” Every stage of life is a learning moment. “So, be confident in expressing the unique skill sets, experiences, and strengths you bring to the table,” Venkataramani advises. 

One way to best utilize your innate skills as a career relauncher is through a dedicated program. For instance, both Abbott and Venkataramani took part in Eaton’s ReSurge program to help them successfully hone their skills and return to full-time positions.

The ReSurge program is “a structured and well-thought-out platform to get inducted back into the workforce,” shares Venkataramani. Specifically, the program focuses on helping experienced professionals gain the transferable skills, confidence, and network necessary to restart their career via a customized and paid development program.

“Participants get the benefit of both on-the-job and formal training through the multitude of classes available in Eaton University,” says Abbott. “In addition, participants gain valuable knowledge from peers, an assigned mentor, and other experienced leaders throughout the organization. Eaton’s ReSurge program enables participants to leverage past experiences and strengths while getting comfortable with the rhythm of full-time work.”

Thanks, in part, to this program, Abbott is now a Segment Manager, OEM Sales at Eaton. Looking back on her experience reentering the workforce, she recalls how helpful taking that career journey was for her. The process of relaunching your career brings its own set of benefits, including self-reflection, awareness, finding new interests and opportunities, and expanding your professional network, Abbott tells us.

As for Venkataramani, who is now part of Eaton’s Business Strategy team, she is appreciative for her unique journey. For others who are considering returning to the workforce after time away, Venkataramani shares the following advice: “give yourself a chance, there is more to you than meets the eye!”

Keep reading to learn more about Abbott and Venkataramani’s journeys, as well as their favorite parts of the ReSurge program, the best things they learned, and more!

To start, I’d love to hear more about your individual journeys. What brought you both back to the workforce?

Abbott: When my kids grew to a more independent stage, my role and identity as a full-time mom shifted and it was the catalyst for me to return to work. While I enjoyed my role as mom and volunteer in the community, I was eager to return to the workforce. I missed the stimulating challenges of the business environment along with the camaraderie and collaborative teamwork.

Venkataramani: I returned because I was missing intellectual conversations, pursuing collective goals, and problem solving as a team.

How did the ReSurge program help you make this transition?

Abbott: My 10-month relaunch program was an opportunity to rebuild capabilities and confidence while working on an interesting assignment with support provided on multiple fronts. The assignment and built-in support, coupled with an outstanding culture, was the ideal bridge to help me reconnect and transition back into the workforce.

Venkataramani: There was a lot of hand holding in the first couple of months, which made the transition very smooth.

What were your favorite parts of the ReSurge program?

Abbott: There were two favorite parts: The first was the unstructured space to carve out self-directed initiatives, which was an efficient way to tap into my strengths and restore business acumen. My second favorite part was the camaraderie with my Eaton ReSurge cohort..

Venkataramani: I loved the training offered. I got a great introduction to the manufacturing and electrical world.

What about Eaton stood out and made you want to join the company?

Abbott: Eaton stood out to me because of its commitment to developing people and the wealth of opportunities available for career advancement. The company supports both traditional and non-traditional career path progression. Also, I have never worked for a company with so many long-tenured employees, which is a testament to its culture.

Venkataramani: I was impressed by Eaton’s core values of ethics, transparency, accountability, efficiency, passion and, especially, learning

What have been your favorite aspects since joining?

Abbott: To start, Eaton is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture. I’ve really enjoyed building a broad network of colleagues within and across divisions, allowing me to learn from diverse experiences and perspectives.

Secondly, my assignment has been incredible in terms of the topic and type of work. I was fortunate to be offered a project that involved a personal interest, which is reducing our carbon footprint through the use of renewable energy resources. In terms of the type of work, my assignment has been a great blend of initiatives that allowed me to think strategically, manage tactical aspects of the project implementation, as well as collaborate cross-functionally.

Venkataramani: I’m thankful for my ability to add value to Eaton and leverage my skills and strengths in various ways. I’m glad that, at Eaton, I can bring my experience, learn about current business challenges, and collaborate across departments to come to a feasible solution.

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