TestBash Careers 2022 - Career Breaks and How They Shaped Me and My Career with Kiruthika Ganesan

In this talk, @kika talks about her experiences, what worked, what were the struggles and how it has enriched her career.

We’ll use this Club thread to share resources mentioned during the session and answer any questions we don’t get to during the live session.

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Questions Answered Live

  1. Anonymous: For someone who thinks they might be in, as you said “a dark place”, who/where/when to reach out for help to start? Did you do it all yourself?

  2. @callum: What skills would you say to focus on learning now during a career break?

  3. @callum: How can we fight through the initial panic of an unplanned career break and the feeling that you have to keep applying for everything?

  4. @simon_tomes: How do you let people know you are looking for opportunities whilst avoiding the guilt you might feel about messaging them and taking up their time?

Questions Not Answered Live

  1. @callum: How did you make your slides so good??? :smile:
  2. @callum: How can we shift our mindset to being more grateful?
  3. @callum: How can I build an e portfolio?
  4. Anonymous: how do you prepare yourself to join back the industry after career break
  5. Anonymous: do you face any bias or judgement when going through interview after career break…if yes, how do you handle it
  6. Anonymous: When taking a planned break, what are your thoughts on planning absolutely nothing and booking something at the very last minute? To embrace the adventure.

Resources Mentioned

  1. LinkedIn Learning with Lynda: Online Training Courses for Creative, Technology, Business Skills
  2. https://moodle.org/
  3. https://www.gumtree.com/
  4. https://www.fiverr.com
  5. https://www.utest.com/
  6. Dixit | Board Game | BoardGameGeek
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I’m sorry to have missed this one live as I had other commitments, but I’m eagerly awaiting it on catch-up - this is exactly where my life is at right now, and it sounds like the content will be extremely helpful for me!


How did you make your slides so good??? :smile:
Thanks Callum. I have used Microsoft powerpoint (Microsoft 365). It has evolved so much over the years :slight_smile:

This will be one of the zen replies again @cakehurstryan :slight_smile:
Being grateful to me is acknowledging the things which we tend to take for granted. We have big plans and a huge agenda for future but our body has only one agenda, it is walking towards the grave every minute. So, being grateful for being alive today, having your loved ones with you, experiencing life in itself is a big blessing. If some things don’t go your way that’s fine too, so many other things happened right for you since you woke up today. Being grateful for those items gives us a new perspective and a new meaning in life.

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There are so many options to build one. Some speakers on the test bash careers even gave more details regarding that especially Mirza and Maryam’s talks. Personally like Wordpress as there is also free hosting done by Wordpress themselves. My advice would be to keep the profile real, relevant and professional as it will be considered an extension of your cv

I tried answering this question and the bias question in the 99s talk. If it is a planned break, then making some arrangements with the existing employer, a modified contract even, would be good. This ensures there will be a job upon your return. In case it is an unplanned break, work on some areas like we discussed in the talk to show either transferable skills or the actual skills of the job you are applying for. Be prepared for questions around career break as there will be some on that topic. If you choose to, you can add a line or two on the CV describing what it was regarding. It is completely up to you to delve on further details about the break or the reasons for it in the interview. My advice would be to give a brief explanation on the break, what experience you have gained from it and how motivated you are now to take up this new challenge with the newly found zeal and enthusiasm

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I would like to say there is no bias but unfortunately that would be a lie. I feel the bias is directly proportional to the duration of the career break and in some cases even for the reasons behind the break. I have personally seen the taboo around career breaks softening over the years with many big companies offering return to work programs, part time opportunities, remote/flexible working options in a way to cater for different individuals and to bring in inclusivity in their recruitment. Job/ Interview is a two way street, so don’t give up your Respect and Integrity. If anyone doesn’t understand your reasons for your career break or grilling for more information than you are comfortable to share with, you can be assertive and politely refuse to provide the same. In extreme cases, you can even thank the employer for their time and stop the interview saying that the company’s culture may not suit you. Salary negotiations and interviews for senior roles could be more challenging and complex when compared to others just because of your career break. My advice would be to weigh your options based on whether a role will be a job or a career opportunity. If it is the latter, maybe you could take a pay cut if that is what is offered but negotiate for a higher price as soon as you pass probation.

I am personally a big planner, probably won’t do something as spontaneous as this :slight_smile:
I will say go for it if that is what you want provided you have considered the ‘Things to consider’ from the talk.
Life’s too short so do it when you can as it will become a regret later.

Thanks Neil, hope you find it useful! Do let me know your feedback :slight_smile: