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Re-Ignite: Alma's Return Journey Against the Odds Re-Ignite: Alma's Return Journey Against the Odds

"I wanted to get back to work, but here in Mexico, it’s difficult to do that if you’ve been away and you’re a woman and you have kids—as soon as HR sees that on your resume, they're going to throw it away."

Five years away from work. Four children. Alma Rosa overcame the odds to re-ignite her career. Will her comeback story sow the seeds of your own?

An Unexpected Detour

Fresh out of college, Alma launched her career doing fast-paced system support, configuration and maintenance work for large global companies. She excelled, even taking part in an international project. Eventually, she caught the attention of a recruiter at Ethicon, part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. The engineering major was thriving and making her mark.


Alma Rosa, Senior Engineer

Meanwhile, Alma's personal life was moving forward just as quickly. She got married and had children. "I grew up as an only child raised by a single mom, so I always wanted to have a big family," she recounted. "And then when I did, it was only because my mom helped take care of the kids that I could keep working."

The arrangement seemed to work, too. But then, unexpectedly, her mother became ill, and all of a sudden the roles were reversed. Alma would have to take care of her mother on top of four kids—three teenagers, plus the seven-year-old she humorously refers to as her pilón, meaning "extra" or "free gift."

Alma recalled, "When my mom got sick, I made the tough choice to set aside my career for a little while."

Of course, Alma couldn't just drop out of the workforce entirely. "I needed to continue to earn money, to keep working," she said, "but I wanted to find an opportunity where I would at least still be available to pick my kids up from school and be a part of their activities."

The solution?

"Ever since I was young, I've felt that I have a vocation for teaching, so I started working as a teacher at a local high school." Later, she moved on to a local university, where she put in five hours each day in the engineering department.

"The whole time, in my interior, I could feel what I was missing: the adrenaline, the projects and deadlines, meeting new people. I wanted to return to my career as an engineer."

And though Alma couldn't have known it at the time, things were about to change dramatically again.

Enter Re-Ignite

Re-Ignite never would have been on Alma's radar if it weren't for a chance event. "I never dreamed there would be a program like Re-Ignite that could help me get back to my career as an engineer," she said.

In fact, she only became aware of the program by accident: a mention on a friend's Facebook post in her newsfeed. Intrigued, Alma clicked, read more and decided to apply. When she learned she'd been accepted, she was elated.

Still, Alma wasn't quite prepared for what awaited on her first day.

"In the beginning, I didn’t actually know how wonderful this program is," Alma recalled. "I just thought, ‘Ok, here’s your opportunity. Now it's up to you. Go and demonstrate that you’re good."

What she found was just the opposite: a nurturing, hands-on, deeply supportive environment, with dedicated resources designed to help her out. "I had an internal champion whose whole focus was to take care of me, make sure I felt comfortable and give me the tools I need," Alma said. "That made everything easier."

It took some coaching and practice at first, of course, but Alma says she's now back in the groove. And looking back now, she thinks the time she spent teaching helped support her adjustment, too. "Because of my teaching experience,” she said, “it was easier for me to understand and collaborate with my new colleagues of all ages.”

That was especially true of her Millennial colleagues. “I get them,” Alma said. “I like their energy and ideas.”

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Re-Ignite Your Career With Us Today!

If, like Alma, you've been out of the workforce for two or more years, Re-Ignite can pave the way. We'll help you explore your interests, re-ignite your passions and feel strong and confident every step of the way. And in return, you'll get a chance to apply your STEM skills to take on some of biggest and most important health challenges of our time.

The Re-Ignite experience includes:

  • Engagements and projects based on your professional interests
  • Comprehensive onboarding and industry-specific skills training
  • Exposure to paid on-the-job learning opportunities
  • Support from Johnson & Johnson mentors as well as Re-Ignite alumni
  • Consideration for a full-time role at Johnson & Johnson upon program completion

Learn more about Re-Ignite, and be sure to sign up for our Global Talent Hub, too. The latter is an easy way to stay connected, learn more about life at Johnson & Johnson—and even get updates about jobs that might interest you in the future.

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