Returnship Program | Eduarda Cruz Returnship Program | Eduarda Cruz

Eduarda Cruz · February 28, 2024

Returning to work after a long break can feel daunting. Whether you've been caring for your children or loved ones, or taking time off for travel and personal growth, re-entering the workforce after an extended hiatus often requires both time and guidance. At, we ran a Returnship Program for one year designed to provide an opportunity for individuals who've taken a career break and were eager to rejoin the workforce.

In this article, Eduarda Cruz shares her inspiring journey of returning to work after a five-year hiatus and embarking on an entirely new career path as a frontend developer. Her story sheds light on the challenges, and the valuable insights gained through this transformative experience.

Taking a break

Eduarda graduated as an architect in 2013 and pursued that career path until 2017. When her husband, an Android developer, proposed relocating from Lisbon to Berlin for his new job at a software company, she swiftly agreed to the move, leaving her job as an architect without hesitation. However, life presented an even more significant change when she discovered she was pregnant just three days after quitting her job.

"I initially planned to take time off to embrace motherhood, thinking my maternity leave would last at most a year," Eduarda explained. But life had other plans; her first child was 1 year old when she discovered she was pregnant again. What was meant to be a brief hiatus extended to five years as she dedicated herself to raising her children.

Being a mother is a full-time job, and over the years Eduarda felt she lost a part of herself while solely fulfilling family duties: "The first years of staying home with my kids felt manageable, but as time passed, particularly after the third year, I began to realize that I wasn't fully prepared for this shift. Although being at home is wonderful, it's also quite challenging. One the one hand, I can be myself, but I'm mostly a mother most of the day, which is great. I considered myself being lucky during those five years, because you can spent a lot of time with your children. However, I felt a need for more—a need for personal and professional challenge. I wasn't entirely fulfilled."

After this extended break, Eduarda faced a pivotal decision: "I came to realize that I might never excel as a great architect because my strengths lay more in the technical aspects. I thrived in scaling and calculations rather than in the artistic creation of futuristic buildings. Being an exceptional architect demands an inherent artistic passion, but my interest leaned towards the technical side — I prefer numbers."

Her passion for problem-solving became evident as she experimented with programming languages, eventually leading her to an eight-month developers bootcamp. Her journey into web development, particularly learning JavaScript, involved a flexible self-study structure with guidance from tutors and mentors who supported her throughout the learning process. Returnship Program

Within our company, this edition of the Returnship Program was a bridge for those who have been absent from the traditional workforce for a minimum of two years, offering a valuable opportunity to re-enter and facilitating their transition back to professional life. Recognizing the necessity of career breaks, we aim not only to normalize these pauses but also to provide support for individuals who may harbor concerns about resuming their professional journey. During Eduarda's interview, she felt the company's backing as the first question addressed how her experiences as a mother could contribute to her professional success:

"The change of coming back to work was like night and day, but the company supported me from the first moment. I really felt this support and confident already during the interview as the first question was: How does your experience as a mother will help you to be a good professional?"

Eduarda's courage as a mother, navigating a new country and city to give birth, laid the foundation for her transformation into what she humorously refers to as a "super manager." Managing life with two children has honed her time management skills and stress-handling capabilities, skills she now applies to her professional life.

As it's common for many starting on a new job, Eduarda aligned with an imposter syndrome, a phenomenon where individuals doubt their abilities, particularly when faced with new challenges. However, her team demonstrated trust in her capabilities from the beginning, assigning significant work packages despite it being her first role as a developer. Eduarda emphasizes the difficulty in accepting that it's normal not to know everything, even as a senior professional. Whether you're a junior or a senior, the process of starting something new often involves having a lot of questions. She highlights the complexity of the tasks at hand and the necessity of embracing the learning curve. Even the most experienced professionals find themselves in situations where they must seek guidance from others or simply google things.

In coping with these challenges, Eduarda found happiness in open communication with her husband. Discussing work-related challenges, problem-solving strategies, and sharing coding intricacies became a vital part of her routine. Eduarda underscores the importance of building trust in oneself during these stressful periods, acknowledging that the journey may be difficult, but the destination is worth the effort. The team's proactive support played a pivotal role in Eduarda's successful integration back into the workforce.

Balancing Work and Life

When talking about what she values about, Eduarda emphasizes the company's notable benefit of "One aspect I truly appreciate is the flexibility we have. For instance, today I need to leave earlier to pick up my kids, creating an hour and a half break before resuming work. There are days when I may need to start or finish a bit earlier to spend quality time with my children, whether it's putting them to bed or taking them to school. Conversely, on other days, I can compensate for these adjusted hours by working later. This level of flexibility is truly remarkable, and I feel fortunate to be part of a family-friendly company that understands and accommodates the need for flexibility in managing one's time."

Life is full of surprises, from the joys of parenthood to the unexpected turns that lead to new career paths. Taking unconventional paths is not only acceptable but also celebrated. At our core, believes in providing opportunities to those who have taken diverse journeys and embraced necessary breaks.

Eduarda Cruz

Frontend Engineer @ Berlin

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