How to make your break work for you

13 May 2022
Spring 2022

Going back to work after a long break can be daunting. Sophie Goodchild provides advice and insights on making a successful return to the consulting room.

New faces, new equipment, new guidelines. Whether for six months or 10 years, and whether for maternity leave, ill health or simply a career break, a return to work is rarely straightforward. 

For women taking time out to have children, maternity leave can trigger anxiety about the effects on their career. Rebekka Heitmar is Secretary of the Women in Vision UK committee and Reader in Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. She says working mothers may find their projects and responsibilities have been handed over to colleagues in their absence. 

The dilemma is whether or not to challenge an employer. “If you don’t take a stand this could have consequences for promotion, but the same may be true if you challenge your employer,” says Rebekka. Her advice is for optometrists to be realistic about the workload they can or can’t commit to, and for employers to discuss the best way forward with women taking maternity leave. 

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