I attended an iRelaunch workshop last week in New York City. iRelaunch is geared towards women who are looking to re-enter the workforce after a “career break,” usually due to the decision to stay at home to raise a family. The room was filled with inspiring women – about 80% of whom had advanced degrees and yet many of them felt unqualified to work in their field of expertise after staying home for anywhere from six months to 26 years.

It was inspiring to listen to Vivian and Carol (the co-leaders of the conference; both hold Harvard MBAs with nine kids between them) talk about many of the same feelings all women have as they decide whether or not – or when and how – to reenter the work place while being a mother as well.

I often struggle with the questions: “Do you work?” and “What do you do?” I have no concrete answers and do not hold a 9-to-5 job; however, to say that I do not work would be misleading. While I do not have a conventional, easy-to-explain job, I do work. And yet, who does have a conventional job these days? Some do, but many do not (especially working mothers).

While the workshop included many helpful tools, such as how to write a resume to reflect a career break or how best to network yourself back in to a particular field of employment, the emotional discussions were most helpful to me. In talking to one lady at the conference she said to me, “Take ownership of your story and career! You are an author and a speaker and a mother; be proud of that!”

She is right. Each time someone asks me what I do, it is an opportunity to share a piece of my story. Who knows where they are in their life, or what they might need to hear. Like the guy on the train on the way home who asked me just this question….he happened to be a former college soccer player who was injured and not able to finish his career. Had I not taken ownership of my story and taken the risk to share it with him, I might have lost that opportunity to connect with him. To me that was a sign that I was doing the right thing and another affirmation that this story should continue to be told.