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17 minute read

Career Confessions: How a Back-to-Work Mum Returned to the Workforce After a Long Break

Singapore PR Richa Dhawan left her career in the healthcare industry to care for her little ones. When she decided to return to work, she chose to take on something completely new. She shares her story in our Career Confessions series. 

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Richa Dhawan initially thought her career was set in the healthcare industry. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Dentistry, like many of her peers, she too wanted to flourish in her chosen career path.

“I also wanted to take over the universe and prove myself using my surgical skills,” she said to Workipedia by MyCareersFuture. “But adulting happened. I got married and moved to Australia.” Being in a different country, Richa needed to take a series of examinations to get her dentistry qualification accredited. As such, she chose instead to do a Master’s in Radiation Therapy at the University of Sydney.

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Soon after, Richa decided it was time to grow her family. “I had two children within a span of two years and working with cancer patients sort of changed me,” she shared. “So, I decided to spend my time with the children and give them my 100%.” As such, Richa decided to leave the working world behind for the time being.

While she enjoyed watching her little ones grow, Richa felt like there was something missing. “Given my background, there was always an intellectual void waiting to be filled,” she said. “Motherhood is a very emotionally rewarding experience, but at the same time, it has its own pitfalls.”

“I was in a very contented place with my children. But at the same time, I felt I was being left behind professionally.” 

To fill that void, she found the easiest way was to write, which prompted her to start a parenting blog and create social media posts for her personal account.

The back-to-work journey begins

That was when she realised that writing was something she enjoyed doing. The Singapore PR then ventured into fiction writing, publishing a short story collection. “That made me realise that I can leave healthcare behind and move into a different direction,” she said. Realising her newfound passion for writing, she decided to look for a role in digital marketing.

The back-to-work mum then scored her first job in the industry as a freelance email marketer, working remotely for a Hong Kong-based company — and she absolutely enjoyed her stint in it. “It was then I realised that yes, this is what I’m going to do now.”

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One of her friends who worked as a recruiter in Singapore suggested that Richa look for full-time work through the MyCareersFuture jobs portal. She began applying for jobs on the site but at the back of her mind, Richa was worried. Having left the working world for almost six years, she wondered if employers would welcome her back with open arms. Not to mention that she was also embarking on a career switch at the same time.

Receiving assistance as a back-to-work mum

After clicking around on MyCareersFuture, she chanced upon the option to indicate an interest to meet with a WSG career coach and clicked on it. “I thought that a career coach might educate me and help me sort out this conundrum of whether I was making the right choice by deciding to get back into full-time work, and at the same time, change my profession,” Richa shared. 

“A career coach might be able to tell me whether I’m making the right choice.”

Indeed, her career coach fulfilled her expectations. Richa received advice to attend walk-in interviews so that employers can meet with her in person to understand her personality and presentation. 

And it was at one of WSG’s walk-in interview career events at Keat Hong Community Club that Richa bagged the role of a marketing executive with Eversafe Academy. “That was very good advice. I took it and that is how I landed this job,” she revealed. 

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Now the Creative Head, she continues to manage the company’s brand strategy and leads generation efforts. 

For other mums looking to re-enter the workforce as she did, Richa advised them to continue learning through upskilling and reskilling. “No matter how confident you are and no matter how experienced you are, once you take a break from your professional world, you’ll certainly lose touch,” she said.

The best way, she added, is to keep doing courses or tutorials online, as there are many free options available, especially if you want to try something new. “If you want to try other ventures, you certainly can,” she concluded. 

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