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A visiting research scholar at the Radcliffe Institute said yesterday that volunteer work plays an important role in helping women return to professional life after taking a number of years off to raise a family.
Speaking at a colloquium at the Institute, Herta Loeser said that women experience the "empty nest syndrome" when their children grow up and begin to leave home. She said that such a woman becomes "aware, whether dramatically or only gradually and dimly through a sense of dissatisfaction, that she is lost and at loose ends, that she must find something new."
Loeser said that women who re-enter the work force after a prolonged absence find that they have increased their competence as managers, but often have lost some of their specialized skills.
She explained that it is often difficult for women to make the transition from the life of a housewife to that of a working person. To make the transition, Loeser said that some form of counseling was often helpful.
Loeser, who is co-director of a counseling and placement service for volunteers, The Civic Center and Clearing House, said that women can help themselves make the adjustment by reading about the area they are interested in entering or by spelling out in writing "one's self-evaluation and goals."
She also suggested that when a woman feels ready to look into existing possibilities, "there is no substitute for experienced, sympathetic and well-informed counseling."
To ease re-entry, Loeser said, "Good counselors will often suggest volunteering as a way of rejoining the work world and may refer the client to one of the appropriate counseling and placement offices for volunteers.
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