Drew Schuetz took a break from his career in project management to care for his partner. Once he was ready to return to the workforce, Drew found it difficult to get back to his career, even with an MBA and job experience. After finding out about Path Forward, Drew applied for a position at Motorola Solutions, where he completed a returnship in project management. Now a full-time senior project manager at the company, Drew tells us about why he loves working at Motorola Solutions, how his returnship was customized for him, and what advice he has for fellow returners.
Tell us about your career break. What did you do before your break, what prompted your break, and how long were you out of the workforce?
I worked for over six years in program management before I went back to school to get my MBA. When I was on my first job out of business school, working as a project manager, my partner was in a tragic car accident and was going to be in long-term care for quite some time. So I made the difficult decision to take a career break in order to help him through this period. After about three years, I started looking to return to the workforce, but found it was extremely tough. I’d meet recruiters who would tell me I’d be perfect for their company and encourage me to apply – which I would do, and then not hear anything back. I knew that my gap was the issue, but didn’t know how to address it.
My job search was difficult and I wished there was an internship for people like me, who have experience but a gap on their resume. So I Googled, found Path Forward, saw some returnship positions, and applied. There was an immediate change: I was getting interviews, and they were going so well. Eventually, I was accepted into a returnship at Motorola Solutions.
What was your returnship experience at Motorola Solutions?
My returnship at Motorola Solutions was very well-designed, and customized for me. When I started, the managers sat with me to decide what the returnship would be. It was very much designed with the end goal of getting me to where I could be hired full-time. I was given a project the first week. I checked in with my managers weekly, and they made sure that I was getting the support I needed. I was given the autonomy to drive my own returnship, and one year later I’m driving my own success at this company. That means so much to me.
I’m now a full-time senior project manager at Motorola Solutions. I started with one project and now manage a multimillion dollar portfolio of mission-critical projects. The number of times I’ve heard, “the technology that you implemented has saved a life,” makes me absolutely love working for Motorola Solutions. And I wouldn’t be here today without Path Forward and the opportunities it creates.
How did Path Forward support you on your return to work journey?
There were workshop sessions that gave us valuable advice, and the Path Forward team was there to help with just about anything you needed. This was all done at no charge to me! I definitely plan on giving back to Path Forward however I can.
What advice do you have for future returners?
First, since more jobs are now remote or hybrid, don’t take for granted that working remotely will be a breeze. It’s a skill to learn in itself. I often see people struggle with working remotely and balancing their work and their personal life. It may take time to adjust.
During the job search process, it can be mentally draining not hearing back from companies, and not knowing what to do about it. It can lead to a bit of desperation. I’ve been there, and I pushed through it. When something isn’t working, find a way to change it. If you don’t know how to change it, ask for help. I hope all future returners can find the happiness that I found working for Motorola Solutions.