Finish Lines: Anne Zacharias

Anne Zacharias—director of business development for iRelaunch—at her Mt Lebanon home.

Why did you decide to join iRelaunch? I took an eight-year career break to stay home with my kids.  When I was ready to return to work, I found that even with 25 years of work experience, companies would not hire me. When I learned iRelaunch’s mission is to help people return to work after a career break, I was in!

What excites you about the concept?  Companies here are eager to meet and hire from this experienced, stable talent pool.  And relaunchers—professionals who have stepped away from their careers for personal reasons (childcare, elder care, personal illness) and are now ready to re-enter the workforce-—are thrilled to meet with companies that don’t penalize them for having a career gap on their resume.  It’s a win-win.

Are you glad you took a break? I loved my time at home with my children and would do it again. But I counsel people to understand that financially they are giving up more than their salary—401k, salary increases, promotions.  It’s hard to recoup these, and it can take a long time.  Don’t make the decision to stay home on impulse.

What advice you can give someone who takes a career break? Document, document, document!  Keep a file with your awards, performance reviews, projects, budgetary and personnel responsibility.  This will come in handy when you update your resume.  Also, having a contract or part-time position during your time away, will be helpful when you relaunch.  We call this, “keeping the pilot light burning on your career.”