Returning to Work Force After Long Absence

Updated on July 01, 2010
L.D. asks from Glen Allen, VA
8 answers

So I've been a SAHM for about 9 years now, but am starting to think about returning to the work force. However, I really don't want to do what I did previous to my time as a SAHM. Does anyone know of any local programs or colleges that offer courses on how to get back to work? I'm 39 and it seems almost like I'm too old to really do anything worthwhile. I wouldn't mind going back to college for a masters (I have a BSJ), but I don't want to be the only old person there. Any advice or personal stories of success would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone for their suggestions and stories of success. To know that other women have been through the same thing is very encouraging. I will definitely look into community colleges.

More Answers



answers from Richmond on

L., 39 is not old and you have the ability to do what you want! I wanted a career change (and I'm about 5 years your senior!), so I just started taking classes to obtain and Paralegal degree (I already have a BS in Business)! There are some younger people (kids!) in my class, but there are also mature adults. Don't let anything stop you - go for it!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Considering your very advanced age you might consider the following career paths where you can offer some real-life experience:

drool bucket changer at the local nursing home
support-hose instructor
moblie denture cleaning
financial planning for other "oldsters"

LOL ......SERIOUSLY???!!!
39 is NOT old!!! Get real, sweetie.
Now go and do what you WANT to do! Good luck!


answers from Indianapolis on

I was laid off last year just before my 34th birthday and felt like I was ancient and overpriced to get into the work force.

Many, many people who've had long successful professions are finding themselves in the same boat and having to go back to school to reinvent themselves. Check into community colleges to see what they have available in a field that interests you.

Post your resume on popular sites like and and see what hits you get. With so much moving from print to digital media, you may find your field has changed considerably and is much more enjoyable than it was prior to staying home with your family.

Good luck!



answers from Lima on

Do you realize how many parents are going back to school nowadays? I just spoke with an advisor here at my local college and she said they are seeing more and more adults coming back to get a degree. With the economy so bad, and it doesn't look like it's getting any better, it's safer to have a degree. I only have a high school diploma and I want to go back to nursing school, but I think I may need to wait on it since I have a 2 year old and a 6 week old.

I don't know if colleges really have programs for people wanting back in the workforce, but you may want to speak with an advisor/counselor at your college and see what they suggest you doing. I mean they get paid to give you their advice. It's worthing asking and worth giving it a shot.



answers from Dallas on

At 39, there are plenty of things that you can do that are worthwhile and that can be personally satisfying. Call your local community college and see if they have any programs that will help you ease back into the work force. They may also have a testing office that can help you figure out what you want to do--the personality testing and the skills testing may point you in a direction that you have never even thought about. My husband often lectures for an MBA program and there are quite a few "experienced" students that are in the program, updating their skills and networking. I worked full time for a few years when my kids were little and then took at 2 year break (caused by my company closing my division). When my daughter started first grade, I went back to work at 39 (in a slightly different field) and have been there for 17 years. Good luck!


answers from Washington DC on

you would seriously avoid getting your masters because you think that 39 is old????
woman! get your butt into the classroom!


answers from Dallas on

You aren't old. I went back to work after a 20 year absence and discovered people wanted me! They wanted a mature person with life experience. I was over 50, and have began a small business from home. If you want to go back to school, do it! If you are the oldest person in the classroom then smile at the kids and chat with the teacher. Enjoy it!



answers from Jacksonville on

You won't be the "only old person there". :) Many people are going back to school right now and many delay their Masters degree for some time before getting it. It took me 8 years to get my BA in Elem. Education because of life and I was a non-traditional student. I LOVED it! I plan to get my Masters and am starting classes this fall. There were people I graduated with that were well in their 50s. Some of the people I'm going through my upcoming courses with are well in their 50s.

Age is not a factor if you have the time to devote to it and you want to do it. I think that anyone can do anything when they put their whole effort into it and I think you can do it, be successful with it AND enjoy it! Have new people....celebrate your accomplishments!

Good luck!

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