No Career, No Direction despite some experiences.

Hello.I'm very confused and am not sure how to proceed with going back to work, finding work, and career development. Some background:- was in marketing/advertising as a media operations / billing associate; it was a role to get into strategic planning but that never came to fruition - finished Full stack engineering bootcamp in 2018 to change careers- got a contract job with possible hire a few weeks later- contract ended in July 2019; didn't get hired- did not have work from July 2019 - Dec 2019 (son's birth) to focus on my pregnancy and prepare for birth- chose to stay home for the first year to care for my son; the year is coming to an end soon.The first year is ending soon and I'm looking for work. I'm getting anxiety as I feel that I am starting all over again. I feel and know that I don't have a career. Seemed to never have had one since the very beginning of me working. I'm looking for front end developer or UI developer roles but I feel like I'm not skilled enough to apply or even get an interview. Even if I do get a position, I'll doubt myself even further as I think I won't meet expectations. I think that's what happened with the contract position. They hired a new upper management person and he decided he didn't want to keep me. It really hurt. I'm trying to get some practice back in but I'm unable to as I'm with my son the whole day.I'm rushing to find a new job because I have my student loans to pay for starting in January since there was a pause placed by the government for Covid. I'm not sure about child care as I need to know where I'm working first to determine daycare locations and such. My husband is a teacher so he's been teaching from home since the quarantine. He may have to go back physically in January. If I didn't have my student loans, I could be a SAHM.I'm scared and at a lost. No career, no finances (my husband supports us, but I can't rely on him all the time), and no direction. Has anyone experience a similar situation and had a successful outcome?Thank you for listening/reading.
I'm so sorry to hear of all of this! I don't have any advice personally but I'm tagging @HannahBaldovino who may be share her experiences with returning to work after having a baby.
Thank you for tagging Hannah. And thank you for listening/reading.
Of course! Also @TamaraLuzajic just shared her journey of returning to work after a mat leave as well here:
Thank you for the link! It's very helpful.
Hello my fellow mom,First, I want to just that YOU ARE DOING AMAZING. I'm reading through your post and I can just feel and relate to what you're saying about questioning your ability. It's so hard not to relate being employed directly with your self-confidence. I hear you! So I just want to encourage you to just take a step back and understand that you have skills to offer; you just have to find the right place. Job hunting is tough. Period. But in a pandemic?? It's going to be an upward climb but if you want it, you'll get there. Something I heard recently was "don't let anybody say no for you" The job market right now is all about putting yourself out there. It's scary but worth it. Start reaching out to everyone and anyone in your network and beyond to start conversations about their work and get to know the employees at companies you're interested in working at. (I wouldn't necessarily approach it as that you're asking them to find you a job but more so you're interested in learning more about the company/industry/their experience) You never know what these conversations can lead to!One resource you should check out is The Mom Project. It's a platform dedicated for working moms to get back out there in the working field. And for some engaging motivation that we all need sometimes? Check out Work It Daily. It's a job coaching platform that offers great free tips on resumes, cover letters and networking. And lastly, there's a great networking platform called LunchClub that matches you up with others in the professional field.Keep your head up and go after what you want. Don't forget... there is NOTHING more powerful than a mama's strength.
Thank you Hannah for your supportive words and resources. I've looked at The Mom Project and have had a few emails come through. I've yet to apply to some. I've signed up with Lunch Club today. Hope I can grow my network there, too.That quote of not letting anyone say no for you is tricky. I guess this pass experience soured my hopes. I couldn't negotiate as I had no room to. I guess you can say my views on my self worth is reflective on how I perceive myself through my career or lack of. I make it to the job and do well (at least I think I am) until I get the ax. So that quote rubs me the wrong way.
I see a lot of great feedback has come in! I think everyone correlates their job with their confidence. I do the same! Just try to remember that job hunting is a two way street, you want to find a company that is best for you and the company needs to find someone that fills their strongest need. The right fit will come so long as you are working towards it! And what I meant by "don't let anyone say no for you" isn't necessarily that you can fight for a job or a promotion etc when it's been rejected. I meant that when you say things like "I won't apply for this job because I think might get rejected." Don't hold yourself back from at least putting yourself out there because right there, you've already decided for them that you'd be rejected. Do you see what I mean? I recognized it because I do it ALL THE TIME. Keep going!
I do not share your background, but my initial reaction is maybe there's an opportunity to try to get closer to that ideal role to start and keep building your skills. Freelance work is abundant for developers in my experience and maybe you can take some of that on to keep honing your abilities in development. And from a full-time perspective, maybe look for a role that utilizes your operations experience while also working with technical folks. Maybe you are a technical program manager at a tech company helping manage a sprint team alongside a product manager. There are probably other roles as well, but that's the first thing that is top of mind.Those are some of my first thoughts! I think with all the uncertainty of COVID and your experiences so far, it's not bad to feel the way you do. And it's about trying to take it one step at a time as much as you can. My goal isn't to promote my own thing, but I do think you could be a good candidate for a coaching program I'm launching to help more women and people of color get access to career dev help. You can read more at
Thank you Vanessa. I'll look up the technical program manager role. It sounds interesting. My experience with media operations was mostly print media and data entry. I did create a standard operations process/procedure that helped reduce keystrokes and time for media planners. I do like to find ways to help others work more efficiently and reduce their stress.I've looked into coaching program before. I worked with one woman whom I feel didn't help; perhaps it was her style that didn't match with me. I did meet someone else recently and I think she and I paired well. I'm debating on starting a coaching period with her but finance is a big concern for me right now.
And no pressure on the coaching. Just wanted to float it if there's any interest or relevance.But yeah, it also just depends on what you want. If you want to take those bootcamp skills and be an engineer then that's a whole different path than TPM. But thought it could potentially be a role where the skills combine!
Thank you. I'll put TPM as an option for the future.
You are worth more than any job! Remember you are doing the greatest job on earth, being mom. You will find a job in time. Being Patient is hard. But be kind and patient with yourself, while you wait for your good things to come. Mom of 5 here.
Thank you for being supportive and lending an open ear.
Hello Anon! First off, I can imagine how you are hurting and understand your frustration! I agree with everyone's thoughts. You can certainly get a great job because you have a lot to bring to the table (I don't know you but I just know you do because we all do here especially people who are trying to better themselves every day which is what you have been doing the last few years even before becoming a mom).Now let's be practical:1) It sounds like you have the feeling where you know just enough but not enough to get a technical role. Why do you think is that? And what do you need to do to get to that level to be enough for a technical role? Do you think you're not "good" enough ie. is it self talk which as we know can be very negative at times, or is this based on facts? you simply lack certain skills. If the former: there is some internal work that might be helpful for you to do (perhaps therapy can help you to battle some inner critic, and help you rebuild your self-confidence) if it's the latter well that's actually super easy... :) pick up the skills, connect with everybody who works in a position you want (on here, but also LinkedIn, personal network, alma mater), talk to companies hiring. You can do all of this work on Elpha :) 2) You are not actually sure what path you can follow: what is it you are interested in? You mention a background in media - why did you leave and would you go back in that space? Ask yourself the why for all of that. Now that you are a mom I can only imagine your priorities and YOU have changed so consider the things that you see yourself doing every day and rank them from LOVE, Don't love but OK, to absolutely NOT OK. It requires a bit of introspectionYou might want to see a coach. However, in my personal opinion (and these are MY views only there are people who will disagree with me) coaching is a business ($) so you want to make sure you get the most out of it. As such, I would encourage you before going that route you should do a bit of self-work, understand yourself/your needs/your direction and then work with a coach to guide you further, expand your mindset and so forth.You totally got this! It is totally okay to feel this way, and sometimes all you need is a hug - so I am sending you a big virtual hug but also telling you to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you've got this. As I always tell myself "why not me?" If others did it, why not me.On that note why not you?
Hi Iynna. Thank you for your support.My responses:1) It may be mostly self talk, but from past experience I feel it's based on fact. Yes it was my one and only tech position. And how it ended soured the experience and affected my perspective of my own self worth.2) My background in media was purely billings, data entry, and print media related. I wouldn't go back to that space as I want to do more with what I know and what I can do. I left due to a mental health leave. I didn't want to leave as it was my only form of income, but in the midst of my mental health situation I made a bad call without realizing what I did. I mentioned to Vanessa above that I did meet someone who I find would be best suited to my coaching needs style. I'm still debating if I should move forward because of cost.I have been to therapy and made strides in my introspection. I find myself regressing a bit because now that I'm a mom. I have new priorities and need to readjust my goals. Finance is the biggest culprit in my decision making.
Hi!1) Sounds like there's a bit of both - can you pick up the skills you lack to get to those technical roles you really want? 2) "I wouldn't go back to that space as I want to do more with what I know and what I can do"this is actually very interesting - it would be good (if you have not done so) that you write down a list of all the things you are very good at and things you are okay/could use some training. This may give you some ideas on the kind of roles you should look into (also beware that role / titles usually change depending on industries/stage of companies so you want to focus a bit more on the content of the role not so much the title) and it may give you a boost of coonfidence - which I think you need at the moment :) It's amazing that you've made stride in your introspection - it's no easy feat! "I find myself regressing a bit because now that I'm a mom" --> can I ask how so? Is it by being a mom you feel distracted when it comes to mapping out your career? (given new priorities etc).A couple of thoughts I have by reading all this: what is your main priorities right now? If it's money it sounds like you should look into smth like freelance/small projects to help you generate some cash fast while having some flexibility to raise your little one. I also think it could give you back that confidence that your work is valued and you are valued.
HI Iynna.1) I believe I can if I'm able to put time in when I can get a break from my son. It's hard to do everyday.2) Thank you for this suggestion. I'll give it a go. As a new mom, I don't feel distracted about mapping out my career. It's more so of trying to find some time to refresh or add new skills as I apply for jobs and hopefully land an interview, along with thoughts about what's best for my son in terms of childcare.
Best of luck!
What about a QA to get you close to the action.? You'd be a standout applicant with your background.
I forgot about QA. I would be able to help with the code and UI & UX sides of things for sure.Thank you for the suggestion. :)
Your situation sounds tough! However, given how much demand there is for devs and that you said you want a front end/dev job I feel you can make it happen if you can manage your psychology. Esp considering you have 1 year of experience. I don’t want to trivialize that as I know the inner saboteur can be so strong sometimes. If you do want to get back into coding and want to brush up your skills to gain a little confidence back, you could check out orgs like where you can contribute to open source projects. It’s pro bono work, but you can contribute as much or as you’d like and it’s something you can put on your LinkedIn profile/resume and recruiters will start reaching out to you. It also helps you network and learn from the other engineers who are on the project. I’m on a pro bono open source project right now myself as I try to find a Dev job myself. I graduated bootcamp in March, lost an apprenticeship due to covid, had something for a couple months this summer, and then I started doing this work. It has helped me gain confidence to see my work in production and helps with interviews as well. I know finance is a concern so another option is to look into to start getting back into coding via paid contract gigs. They don’t pay as well, but are a place to start. Since you already have 1y experience and coding jobs are super high demand, I really feel like you can make it happen if that’s what you want for yourself and can figure out how to believe in yourself again. We are all rooting for you 💜
Thank you Laurice for the suggestion on progcode. I'll look into. The inner saboteur is a huge burden. Appreciate the time you put into the comment.
One sentence: Let's talk!Tracy Bullock here- career coach and Elpha OG I open a good deal of time on my cal whenever I can to be of service to anyone who finds it to be so. Please, do pop a slot on in:, all that you have heard is true - your ship will come in. That said, you are in the shits for sure. Let's connect about how to getcha some much deserved leverage. HUGE e-hug- tall soonxo
Hey Anonymous! I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time. Given that you've received a lot of sound advice & words of wisdom already, I want to highlight a few points in your original message that I think deserve more attention. 1. "I feel and know that I don't have a career. Seemed to never have had one since the very beginning of me working." Your diverse professional skills and experiences *demonstrate* that you have a career. What comes through loud and clear, however, is that this isn't the career you want. So, a few quick questions:- What would "having a career" mean to you? - What do you want from a career that you don't have at the moment (or haven't had previously, given that you're not working at present)?2. "I'm looking for front end developer or UI developer roles but I feel like I'm not skilled enough to apply or even get an interview. Even if I do get a position, I'll doubt myself even further as I think I won't meet expectations."You say that you feel that you're not skilled enough to apply or even get an interview. Why not? Who's judging you?What's the worst that can happen if you apply for a job and/or get in a (virtual) room with someone to talk through your experiences and the requirements of the role? At least from my perspective, the worst case scenario is that the conversation is uncomfortable or stressful (for whatever reason) and you don't get through to the next round. Taking a step back for a moment - in the grand scheme of things (all of your life experiences to date), is that really that bad?Building on this, why do you say that you will doubt yourself even more (aka self-sabotage) if you are offered a position? How do you know? And why do you think you know this? (Spoiler alert: you don't! And I don't, either - none of us do, because it hasn't happened yet!) Given that you don't know how you're going to handle this situation (because no-one knows what the future holds), why are you setting yourself up for failure?The stories we tell ourselves are POWERFUL. How might you shift your internal narrative to one that's kinder and a little more compassionate? If a friend came to you sharing similar struggles, how would you respond to them? And - presuming that you would try to support or comfort them - what makes you think/feel that you aren't worthy of the same treatment? TL;DR: You are so much more capable than you realise. You recently brought a new life into the world. What could be a more significant role/responsibility than that? You may be scared and *feel* at a loss, but you are not lost. Like all of us, you are finding your way. Hold on! You've got this. I (we) believe in you. :)
Hi Contessa - I know this post is older so I’m hoping you’ve found some guidance and support. If not, I would love to introduce you to my company, Mindset Mamas. I built it based on exactly what you’re going through. The good news is...there is hope. Would love to talk more offline with you if you’re still feeling lost.Feel free to message me or reach out at [email protected].Xoxo,Kelli