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Elaine’s Story: Returning to Consultancy with Deloitte Ireland


Elaine Diver, Consultant, Deloitte Ireland (5-year break)

Before my break I had 10 years’ experience in banking working for HSBC and AIB in Dublin, predominantly as a Business Analyst.

I took a career break for 5 years, prompted by the arrival of my second child. I found it hard to get childcare support for both of my children to enable me to keep working, so I made the decision to take time out to care for my children. My plan was to return to work as my youngest got older, however Covid struck, so instead I enjoyed the time with my family and pushed back my return. During my career break I kept my skills refreshed by completing a project management course and a diploma in data for business.

I decided I was ready to return to my career when my youngest started school and fortunately a good friend saw the advert for the Deloitte Return to Work Programme and passed it on to me. I was delighted to secure a place on the returner programme!

Returning to work has been fantastic and having the flexibility to work from home has helped enormously. When I started on the first day, I was buzzing to be back – and so ready! During your career break you can lose confidence and it’s easy for imposter syndrome to creep in but coming back to work was great, I’ve loved the clients and projects I’m involved with and the brilliant team around me. I feel very lucky.

The coaching support I received has been invaluable in helping me to positively transition back into work and believe in myself. I also enjoyed being part of a cohort of returners, everyone was going through a similar journey and very supportive of one another. In addition to the Career Returners coaches, we also had a coach support us from within Deloitte which was great for my career focus and working through specific challenges from within the business.

I feel very positive about being back at work and my kids are also used to me being back now, which is great. Everything has really fallen into place and I don’t think I could have had a better start to returning to work.

My advice for other returners is to do a little bit of upskilling if you can, for your own confidence and skills. It’s important to believe in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to convince other people to believe in you! Have a cheerleader, a good friend or family member who can encourage you to go for it when you might be lacking courage.

Take the time to reflect on what you did in the past and think of some good examples to discuss. You were capable once; you can be capable again! I had a notebook where I jotted down some examples and took some time to think about my past career and career break and focused on the highlights and transferable skills I’d gained.

Finally, and practically, it’s also helpful to consider your ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ when returning to work. Think about what you need and would like to have in accordance with your personal commitments and discuss that with your prospective employer to hopefully find a solution that works for you both.