To Work or Not to Work?: 6 Dilemmas and Solutions

At-Home Issue: You Feel Out of the Loop

Find yourself yearning for that water-cooler gossip? You don't have to suffer. Fortunately, the strategies to soothe these woes will also help you keep your skills fresh and your knowledge up to date if you want to return to the workforce.

The Solution: First and foremost, it's important to stay in touch with your colleagues. If you let a year go by without a call, you'll not only be out of the loop, but you may find your old workplace filled with strangers by the time you're ready to go back to work. Send out a casual e-mail or pick up the phone every few months to let your colleagues know what you're up to. Follow up with a lunch date. Even better, drop by your former workplace with the baby, say hello, and get face-to-face so out of sight doesn't mean out of mind. It's also smart to keep apprised of all the changes taking place in your profession, so scan the proper stuff or surf the Web regularly for relevant career information.

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