Customer Reviews: Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work
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on June 16, 2007
I was so excited to check this book out of the library because I'm in the process of reentering the work force after 7 years as a stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately this book does not apply to me because I don't have a PhD, MBA, medical degree, engineering degree or law degree. This book is clearly written for the woman who has left a highly paid/skilled job to be at home for a few years. The book outlines family-friendly jobs in many areas such as accounting, marketing, legal, and medicine. Advice on adding volunteer work to a resume is covered however, my only volunteer work has been providing snacks for VBS. In hindsight I guess I should have done more "strategic" and impressive volunteer work to bolster my resume and I am kicking myself for not using those years at home to learn a foreign language. Inspirational stories are provided but they describe women who were at one time CEO's, doctors, lawyers, PhD holders, and even famous celebrities. They ARE inspirational women but I simply can't relate in terms of reentering the work force. Information is provided for people wanting to return to school- initiatives from Harvard Business School, and fellowships for those women interested in scientific careers are included. I tried to google "reentry scholarships" as talked about in one of the chapters but found nothing in my state unless I already had engineering experience.This book is perfect and nicely done for a certain category of women. Sadly I am not in that category. After reading through this book instead of feeling inspired and gaining valuable information I just feel depressed!
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on June 27, 2007
This book has two great strengths. One is that if offers a calm, practical strategy for breaking down and following through on the many tasks involved in going back to work. This is really important and welcome, since in the busy day-to-day of parenting, it is often hard to look at the big picture and think strategically. The second is that it talks about the practical AND emotional hurdles to going back to work, and manages, in an upbeat but balanced way, to talk like a firm but supportive friend about overcoming them. There' s a lot written lately about how mothers are foolish and naive if they don't work for pay, a point of view bound to alienate mothers who aren't currently working. This book, by contrast, is not ideological, but helpful and eminently practical. It's a great resource if you are just starting to think about (and feel your way through) this complex question.
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I can't believe reviewer Martin Nemzo read the same book I did. As reviewer Rachel Towle mentioned, I do not have an advanced degree, yet I found Back on the Career Track to be a realistic, refreshing guide to career reentry. Women who had "relaunched" careers in all sorts of fields and work configurations are profiled and the advice and strategy is accessible and I think equally effective for those of us without graduate degrees. In fact, I think the stories from the authors and their subjects were unusually candid, which made the points the authors were trying to illustrate even more compelling for someone in the position of being at home trying to return to work. Looking at Mr. Nemzo's background, he does not appear to be in this situation which is why he might have missed the major points of the book.

Finally, his comment about the authors backgrounds is clearly inaccurate to the point where I wonder if Mr. Nemzo had some sort of agenda to diss these authors. His comment that one of the authors is noted in the NYTimes for marrying a physician happens to be her wedding announcement from 1988! From their company website ([...]) and some of my own googling, I found out that Cohen, a mother of four, resumed working after 11 years out of the full time workforce in a full time job for an investment company. She left after a year at which time Harvard Business School wrote a case study about her journey back to work after her time at home. Rabin went into the executive search business after seven years at home with her five kids.

These two authors appear to me to be the only authors of books on career reentry who have actually gone through the entire process of working, taking a career break and then returning to jobs unrelated to writing about or starting a company in the career reentry field. They wrote their book and started their company after they went through the entire return to work process. That's why they understand it so well! They now run a company that creates career reentry programming for people on career break and they have spoken internationally on the topic. Just take a look at their list of speaking engagements to see the wide range of audiences they address. Mr. Nemzo - I think you better do more careful research next time before tossing out the ridiculous references you make in this review. I give Back on the Career Track five stars and highly recommend it for those on career break interested in a strategy to return to work after a hiatus.

Nicole, mom of 1 with one of the way
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on December 29, 2013
I think this book is primarily for moms returning to work who: 1) had a solid, successful career (ie, not just a job) before staying home; 2) never fully left the workforce or didn't leave it for long; 3) had a professional degree and remained involved in some way.

For those of us who really did leave the workforce for two decades to raise a family, the book felt out of touch.
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on November 30, 2008
I'm a new mother, thinking about how I will take the next step of "relaunching," or reinventing my working self for the next stage of my career when my daughter is a little older. I bought this book both because it speaks to my personal situation and because I was so impressed after hearing Carol Fishman Cohen speak recently. Thank goodness I did. It has been enormously helpful in helping me deal with both the personal and the practical issues involved in these complex decisions. It walks you through the process of deciding what kind of return to work is best for you personally, and then shows you how to put those changes in practice. For example, I loved the book's step by step guide to creating your own "elevator pitch" - something I knew was useful to have, but which I'd had difficulty creating during this time of transition. Just as importantly, the book helps you get over the psychological hurdles involved in relaunching in a way that is surprisingly effective. It contains a smart, effective pep talk for women who have started to doubt their own value in the workplace - something that can happen even to women with prestigious degrees and major career accomplishments (I can vouch for this personally). I highly recommend this book to anyone considering a return to work after being a full time mother, no matter how clueless and conflicted you may feel right now about these decisions. "Back on the Career Track" will make you feel better and help you relaunch more successfully.
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VINE VOICEon September 6, 2007
Overall, it's a good book and definitely one that's needed. There is a lot of very useful information contained within it, particularly in chapters 3-7. These go through the relaunching process step-by-step from assessing one's career options through the job search/building up one's business period through transitioning to employment both at home and at work. I especially like the focus on part-time, flexible, freelance, and other non-traditional options. The authors really "get it" when it comes to what many moms are looking for in relaunching their careers.

The biggest criticism I have of the book is that it suffers from a tendency to focus on the most elite women. Much of the book seems to be geared towards women with professional backgrounds in investment banking, law, or medicine. I'm sure that the "Goldman Sachs New Directions", "Lehman Brothers Encore", "Flex-Time Lawyers", and "Mom M.D." programs are great for those who qualify but again that's only a tiny fraction of relaunchers. What about the rest of us who held more pedestrian jobs prior to opting out?

The other issue I had with the book was a general denigration of being a stay-at-home-mom and glorification of selfishness. Of the 7 "pros" given for a relaunch, only 2 are non-selfish (financial necessity and avoiding the "empty nest syndrome"), one is debatable ("serving as a role model" as if SAHM's are somehow bad role models for children), and the other 3 are selfish (personal validation, leveling the marriage playing field, and ambition). I just couldn't relate to the stories of these Type A careerists who whined about how awful being a SAHM is. These women came off as totally self-absorbed, glory-seeking, workaholic, strivers who put their own selfish desires ahead of their family's needs. I'm sure this is not the impression Ms. Cohen and Ms. Rabin were aiming for in their depiction of relaunchers!

Despite these problems, however, I do think that "Back on the Career Track" is a "must-read" for women looking to relaunch their careers. I hope that the authors' elitism does not turn off readers from more humble backgrounds since the book offers a lot of very helpful advice.
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on June 24, 2007
I've been thinking about going back to work, and I thought this book masterfully covered the pros and cons as well as laid out a clear 7-step process I could follow if I decide to move forward. I found the authors' ideas about assessing career options, in particular, to be very helpful and innovative. The book was comprehensive in that it looked at all sorts of work arrangements, including conventional fulltime jobs, part-time positions, job shares, consulting and entrepreneurship. The women's stories cited were engaging and varied. I also really liked the second half of the book in which the authors look at the whole issue of women returning to work from the employers' perspective. In short, I highly recommend this book to any women thinking about going back or even thinking about leaving in the first place.
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on December 31, 2007
The authors start off with a bit of sisterhood and camaraderie as they speak from the mommy club. They share their experiences as SAHMs transitioning to full time work as high powered career women. This is when those of us looking for a "job" are left out of the book.

I realize that this book can not be everything to all people, but unless you are in a very high ranking position in business, science, finance, medicine, technology, sales or consulting leave it on the shelf.

It offers some nice tips for everyone about networking and reminders about getting yourself back in gear for work. 75% is for women who have the leverage to play hardball with the employer when it comes to negotiating their schedule and salary. It does not offer many great ideas for those of us who are in financial need to return to work, especially if you have very young children.

I am not trying to dump on the book, but it is not for everyone. If you are trying to be a consultant it offers great advice. If you are finding a "job", not returning to a career, this is NOT the book for you.
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on September 2, 2008
As a medical researcher, I was impressed to see that Cohen and Rabin included grant programs for scientific researchers who are reentering careers after time away. They took this approach throughout their excellent book which highlights how women in a wide range of careers and educational backgrounds could realistically approach returning to work after a career break.

There is a flaw in the recent negative review posted by Martin Nemko. His criticism is directed toward the difficulty of building a resume to obtain a job following a break. Obtaining a job is not the focus of the book. Rather, the book is directed to those who seek to relaunch careers or launch new ones.

His comment implying that these authors are not qualified to write on this topic is wrong. Cohen and Rabin have been through this process personally, run a return to work conference that is touring nationally, and have a lengthy press and speakers list. I highly recommend this excellent guide to relaunching a career following a break.
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on June 17, 2007
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this particular issue and I found Back on the Career Track to be right on point! It is a very thorough guide that takes you through essential steps in figuring out the next steps of the professional journey that women in mid life face. It contains helpful suggestions on how to jump start the process and lots of examples of women who have made successful transitions. I also liked that it highlighted some structural changes that are happening in the workforce and that it discussed ways to work with younger women to ensure that they have more options than we do. It has helpful reference materials and it takes real life situations and tells how to make them work for us instead of holding us back. I work with many women who are "in this space" and I have recommended it to everyone who is either actively looking for her next project or even women who are at the very beginning of the process. It is a wonderful reference and I highly recommend it!
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