Morgan Stanley
  • Experienced Professionals
  • Sep 25, 2015

Returning To Work After 12 Years Away

Raising her children and helping her ailing mother turned a career break into 12 years away from the workforce for Barbara Oakes, alum of the 2014 Return to Work program.

Morgan Stanley’s Return to Work program is an initiative that offers 12-week internships to experienced men and women who have been away from their profession for more than two years.

What was your last job and why did you decide to leave?

Both my husband and I spent years commuting from New Jersey to work in New York City. We got to a point where we wanted one of us to be at home with our three children as they moved through middle school and high school, so in 2002 I left my technology project management job at a financial services company.

That was a long time ago…

I first started talking about going back to work in 2006, but there was the financial collapse and then my mother’s health deteriorated. It was really the beginning of a fulltime job of managing her needs.

Were you worried about delaying your return to work?

Yes, but I continued to prepare myself. In 2010 I reached out to a private recruitment coaching company. I took part in programs my grad school ran on interviewing skills and updating resumes. I familiarized myself with updates to everyday software programs like Windows and Excel and I hooked into LinkedIn which didn’t exist in 2002.

After my mother passed away in 2013 at the age of 91, I restarted my search. I’d signed up for an email distribution at a networking seminar three years before and it was through this blast email that I discovered Morgan Stanley’s Return to Work program. I immediately applied and went on LinkedIn to find people who worked here in technology. I had several conversations that were incredibly helpful.

Where did you intern?

In the Enterprise Infrastructure area of the Technology Division from mid-February to mid-May 2014. I was hired at the end of the program to continue working in the same area as a Vice President.

Do you keep in touch with your fellow interns?

The Return to Work program is a great program that builds a network of colleagues spread throughout the firm. We support each other and I’ve been able to help others with technology questions and issues.