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Time to Reboot by Patty White, MBA

Imagine going from stay-at-home mom to part-time general counsel to CEO of your own company in just over a year. ReBoot Accel alum Kristina Vetter did just that. Not long after stepping back into the workforce as general counsel for Sonim Technology following a six-year career break, she became CEO of Tonik Cycling Apparel. Read here to learn more about her inspirational story. It's about how investing in yourself and exploring an array of possibilities can help you develop the confidence to leave a “what-you-CAN-do” career for a “what-you-WANT-to-do” opportunity.


For the past five years, ReBoot Accel has helped women get “current, connected and confident” to return to work after a career pause. In our classes, workshops and coaching sessions, women have expressed a wide variety of emotions, motivations and goals as they approach their return-to-work journeys. For most, fear mingles with anticipation, while the excitement of considering a next-phase career is balanced by questioning the currency or relevance of one’s expertise. Others, like Kristina, begin thinking of themselves as perennial volunteers after assuming a host of volunteer roles, and they almost find it inconceivable that they were ever paid to work.


For many, the most significant questions may be similar to the ones their college graduate children may be facing: What is my passion, my purpose, the “color of my parachute”? Others who have a clear idea of what they want to be doing are often plagued by doubts: Who will hire me? Or, worse, what if I get the job and then struggle?


Kristina’s journey to land her dream job suggests a number of best-practice tips.

Be patient, self-reflective and curious. We’re often reminded that life is as much about the journey as the destination. Initiating a return-to-work journey a year or two (or longer) before you plan to actively seek employment gives you the opportunity to explore, experiment and upskill. Start by noticing what “fills your tank” or conversely, “what drains it.” Be open to what you really want. Make sure you are not subscribing to others’ expectations. Listen to yourself. Honor your values. Have a bias to action. Don’t fall into the “analysis-paralysis” trap. It can be easy to delay moving forward in your journey by putting more and more time into research and thought energy into what a first step should be. A better approach is to take a small step, learn from the experience and continue forward—or sideways or back up again if you need to. Take a class: for fun, to develop an expertise or to earn a certification. Be curious. Talk to people to find out what they like about their jobs and how they got there. Don’t go it alone. Have fun. If you are interested in returning to the workforce after a career break, you are part of a growing trend, one that is getting attention from companies looking for accomplished talent. Following ReBoot Accel workshops or a company’s return-to-work events, attendees commonly discuss the relief of learning they are not alone. By sharing your intention with others, you’ll hear about community resources and will have the opportunity to learn that upskilling your office tech skills, practicing your elevator pitch and preparing your interview responses can be enjoyable and energizing when you do these tasks with others on a similar path. Support exchanged along the way drowns out the doubts. To quote a recent ReBoot participant, “ReBoot has transformed what could have been a confusing, lonely and competitive slog into a fun, engaging and collaborative journey.”

Danielle MacInnes, Unsplash

Ready to get started?

  • Check out Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The book offers guidance and exercises that help you apply the principles of design thinking to the next-step decisions you face.

  • You can also avail yourself of free online instruction. ReBoot Kickstart, the online version of ReBoot’s successful Accelerator program, is broken into 24 self-paced modules to help you with discernment and with tactical assistance in a job-search process.

  • A complement to these above-two options and—for some—the ideal first step, is to consult with a career, life or executive coach. Coaching sessions present a structured and meaningful way to help you take stock, identify insights and hold you accountable as you explore and act on your learnings.

  • Also, be sure to check out our "10 Tips for a Successful ReBoot" and prepare your personal vision statement using ReBoot’s worksheet. Next, complete ReBoot’s personal inventory to assess your values and strengths.

Transitions present an opportunity for growth. Returning to the workforce may seem daunting, but when done with a thoughtfulness that aligns your values, skills and interests, you’ll land the type of work you WANT to do rather than work that is just what you CAN do.


Patty White, MBA

Founder, speaker and executive coach Patty White is driven to catalyze women to lead lives of impact and influence. As co-founder of ReBoot Accel Inc., she helps women become current with technology, connect to broader networks and develop the confidence to lead fulfilling lives.  Patty also provides consulting services on gender diversity, and she helps company leaders use employee resources effectively and develop positive corporate cultures. Her coaching practice aims to align each individual's talents, interests and purpose. For SOUL Food Salon community members who wish to work with her, Patty will donate 100% of her coaching fees to a local food bank or social justice organization. Inspired by her fourth child, a daughter with Down syndrome, Patty also co-founded LuMind Foundation, which applies the current learnings in brain research and genetics to open opportunities for individuals with cognitive delays. Contact Info: Email: patty.white@rebootaccel.com Website: ReBoot Accel Linkedin: @pattyannobrienwhite Check out ReBoot Accel's online weekly workshops (now being offered for the low price of $10). 


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