Carol Fishman Cohen, Co-founder, iRelaunch writes: Regardless of her intent, Judith Warner’s NYT Magazine article “The Mid Career Time Out (Is Over)” is causing readers to conclude that taking a career break leads inevitably to divorce, misery and lower pay. Not only is this conclusion negative and demoralizing, but it’s not true. Taking a career break most certainly doesn’t mean professional suicide. Returning to work is not easy, so I won’t sugarcoat the issue. But it is possible.
My business partner Vivian Steir Rabin and I have seen and helped thousands of women (and men) return to work after career breaks ranging from one to 20 years. We did it ourselves: Vivian after seven years at home with five kids and I after 11 years at home with four kids.
Yet, looking only at the portrayals of the three individuals Warner features, it is easy to understand why readers come away afraid to take career breaks. While an issue of this importance will not be settled by dueling case studies, they can be instructive. Our company iRelaunch has compiled hundreds of successful career reentry stories. These stories chronicle just some of the diverse ways people have returned to work after long career breaks, most often happily and with marriages intact.