If you’re considering returning to work after an extended break, you’ll be all too aware of the unique set of challenges making the transition will come with.
Your self-confidence might be taking a hit after taking so much time away or you might worry about losing work-life balance. Then there’s the anxiety around the social pressure to form new relationships or lack of reliable options for childcare or home-schooling. The spiralling list of ‘what ifs?’ and ‘what happens when…?’ can be soul crushing.
But, if you’re returning to work soon, or plan to do so in the future, there are a few ways to make the transition a little easier and a lot more exciting!
We spoke with Sethu Ramasubramanian, Software Engineer, who is leading the Return to Work program at Cash App. He and his wife Ashwini (also a software engineer) have two children, and Ashwini took a nine-year career break to care for them.
“I can’t thank my wife enough for the break she took. During this period, we also immigrated to Australia. Because our kids have grown older and are able to care for themselves more, she wanted to return to work. It was a really stressful time for her but we worked together to find a great opportunity and ease the transition. Being able to help not just my wife but other people return to work is the reason I created the program at Cash App.”
Sethu shares some tips and insights from Cash App’s new program to help others feel better prepared to navigate this change.
1. Go easy on yourself
Joining a new workplace can be tough enough, but it can be even harder when combined with the stress and anxiety that can come after having a career break.
Sethu empathises with one of the biggest challenges associated with returning to work: lacking self-confidence.
“When people take a career break, it can rob them of their self-confidence and some suffer imposter syndrome when they return. The problem is exacerbated when companies and recruiters routinely ignore them. When they don’t hear back about roles, it can demotivate them further. That’s why we’ve designed Cash App’s Return to Work Program, first and foremost, to help people regain their confidence.”
When Ashwini wanted to return to her field, Sethu wanted to support her as best he could.
“Her confidence was low and she didn’t know where to start. We talked about all the new technologies she could pick up and self-study material she could use to learn. We worked on a web application as a home project but because of all the stress she was experiencing, she couldn’t concentrate on it. She almost gave up on being a software engineer again.”
This setback was, of course, disappointing. But Sethu and Ashwini’s story doesn’t end there.
2. Seek companies with a structured return to work programs
Sethu’s previous employer created a return to work program, which Sethu was tasked with running (mentoring 200 odd people).
“I recommended it to my wife. After interviews, she joined the training bootcamp I ran. Being present in the same room with other people in the same boat helped her de-stress significantly. She picked up all the concepts we learned as a group and was offered a job. The feedback from others in the group was extremely positive. Their confidence grew in leaps and bounds. Some were offered roles and others received certificates, with which they were all able to find employment as software developers in other companies.”
For Sethu, being able to help his wife and others return to work is the reason he created the program at Cash App.
3. Join workplace cultures that prioritize support and trust
In Sethu’s experience, organizations that offer people support and trust are the best places to return to work.
“At Cash App, you can pick up the amount of work you’re comfortable with. From day one, I was amazed at how much trust they provide. Managers ensure you’re taking enough time off, so you don’t burn out.”
Sethu gained a positive impression of Cash App from the get-go.
“The interview process was thought-out and designed to understand me as a person. When a company invests so much in its hiring process, it makes a fantastic impression. It said so much to me about Cash App investing in people with the right technical and interpersonal capabilities. I had a good feeling – and they lived up to expectations.
“The people here are amazing. When I first joined during the pandemic, I was working remotely and didn’t have the opportunity to meet anyone face to face. But I was still so happy. Everyone made me feel welcome and went out of the way to help. And as we’ve grown, we’ve developed even stronger processes for working remotely to support remote staff.”
Cash App is a peer-to-peer mobile banking app that makes it easy to send, spend, save, and invest your money.
Learn more about their employee benefits and policies
So what’s Cash App’s Return to Work Program like?
If you have five years of experience as a software engineer and are looking to return to work after a career break of less than three years, you may be interested in exploring Cash App’s Return to Work Program.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Eligibility – You can have coding proficiency in any coding language of your choice. (For example, Cash App uses Kotlin, but you don’t need it to apply!) Ideally, you’ll have software engineering skills, an eager desire to learn – don’t be shy to ask for help!
- Interview – You’ll undergo interviews prior to being accepted into the program. These interviews assess coding ability (in any programming language of your choice), communication skills and cultural alignment. We’ll be sure to send some resources before your interview to help you prepare.
- Employment and 3-week bootcamp – If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll receive a 3-week bootcamp where you’ll be placed into teams. You’ll also receive a team buddy to act as a mentor.
The bootcamp will teach you the technology at Cash App, allow you to explore solutions, then present to your group so that you can learn from one another. Trainers are on-hand to guide you through the course. You’ll also be paired with a peer to solve challenges, reduce stress levels and improve your confidence. You’ll never be alone, and you’ll always have people you can lean on for support.
- Team placements – You’ll then be placed into a team and be assigned a buddy. Your buddy will partner with you long-term and provide as much support as you require. All outcomes are self-driven. Initially, you may require additional help and support but as time goes by Cash App will support you in becoming a fully productive member of the team.
- Beyond? – Where you go is entirely up to you. The team you join and your manager are all there to support you in your chosen pathway.
A final note from Sethu:
“At Cash App we have a robust, current tech stack. We solve big challenges and service millions of people at scale. We have amazing people and all of them are willing to support you through your journey returning to work. If this program sounds like it could be suitable for you, I encourage you to apply.”
Cash App is scheduling interviews in December, in preparation for the launch of their Return to Work Program in late January 2022. Find out more and apply here.