What’s on your mind?

For Jacinta C., the answer to this Facebook prompt could include a variety of thoughts. Among them: Returning to work after a six-year career break is hard, but worth it.

Jacinta spent a decade establishing a promising career in tech, working in Singapore for startups and blue-chip brands like IBM, Intel, and HP. At the same time, she started a family and soon learned that working full-time and parenting three young boys was—to say the least—a challenge. “For a while, I tried to balance both career and motherhood but quickly ended up embittered and exhausted,” she said. “I was often operating on half-empty and realized I could not have it all.” So, like many women, she left her corporate job in search of more flexibility.

After spending three years building a part-time real estate business in Singapore, she relocated to the U.K. in 2010 to be closer to her husband’s parents. There, she transitioned to full-time parenting. Despite the many advantages of being home, she felt unfulfilled and wanted to redefine her role as a woman. It was important for her to show her boys how to achieve their career goals while successfully juggling family and independence, so in 2016 they relocated again—this time to San Francisco where Jacinta planned to re-launch her career.

She cast a wide net, submitting numerous job applications to Bay Area companies. But, as she remembers, “it was an uphill battle convincing recruiters and companies to see past my six-year career pause.” In fact, those job applications went unanswered. Through it all, she kept going, setting her sights on one company in particular: Facebook. She felt deeply connected to Facebook’s mission because the platform allowed her to stay in touch with her friends and family back in Singapore and Oxford. Not only that, Facebook helped with her relaunch, too—after her community of friends on Facebook heard about her career aspirations, she found an opening.

The company embraced her career gap and she landed a contract role as a project manager. In Facebook’s eyes, diversity of background and experience is paramount to their culture. After all, their mission is to give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together. They can’t do this without hiring people with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and they understand these people may have taken time out of the workforce for many different reasons.

What’s more, Facebook joined Après to encourage women with career breaks to apply—there are many open positions throughout the company’s offices globally. They’ve set up a special email inbox to accept Après applicants so you can know your resume is reaching a live person on the other end. And they’re committed to making the transition back to work as seamless as possible for new hires, with a comprehensive orientation, manager-driven onboarding programs, and an online learning and development portal with even more resources. In addition, they have a slew of internal Facebook groups (including many groups dedicated to moms and parents) where you can engage with and find support from other like-minded colleagues.  

As for Jacinta? After six months, she landed a full-time position at Facebook and is now in her dream role there, combining her passions for tech and business, working with a cross-functional team, and helping small businesses achieve their goals. As SMB Marketing Lead on the Blueprint team (which educates people and businesses about Facebook and Instagram marketing tools), Jacinta is grateful for her career pause because it taught her a very valuable skill: resilience.

“Staying home for six years was often a lonely experience for me—I didn’t have the team-based collaborative work I was used to or the rewards like salary, recognition or days off,” she said. “Learning to adjust to that life allowed me to be more resilient. Things move fast at Facebook and change is normal, but through it all, I know I can keep moving forward, trust my ability to solve problems and help myself and my team thrive.”

And thriving she is. Jacinta has achieved her goals, finding a new career at Facebook that allows her to spend quality time with family and set an example for her boys. Any concerns she had over juggling work/life were squashed when she joined the team—for example, she told her colleagues that it was important for her to protect time at home and avoid working on weekends, which they respect and her manager enforces. “There is a lot of empathy on my team for what’s going on outside of work and we’re all helping each other seek that balance, which I love,” she said.

If you’re like Jacinta and want to achieve your own career goals, check out Facebook’s job openings. And take this advice from her to heart: “Set a daily challenge of connecting with someone new—whether they have a job opening or not—to help you practice telling your story. It’ll help you grow in confidence and make the connections you need to relaunch your career.”

Please check out the Facebook Career website & apply for the roles that interest you. Then please email GMSRecruiting_Apres@fb.com AND contact@apresgroup.com with your resume & the links to the open positions that you applied for via the Facebook career website. Good luck!

Après is your savvy friend who helps you navigate the exciting, challenging and momentous journey that is Career + Motherhood. Sign up and we’ll send you a free pass to watch our Discover Your Purpose & Passion Workshop.

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