Having this program in place, knowing that leaders at Johnson & Johnson are giving me time, that they believe in me—that has meant the world to me.
Fourteen years ago, Joella Flood was at the top of her game. A software developer from Tipperary, Ireland with a background in mechanical engineering, she was blazing new trails in her field, traveling the world—and having a ball while doing so.
So, when she got married, had two boys and took a break from work, she thought it was a temporary move. I'll take a two-year sabbatical and pick up where I left off, she thought. But that's not how things played out. First one son, and then the other, was diagnosed with a developmental disorder. Shortly after giving birth to a third child, her daughter, she and her husband separated.
Suddenly, Joella found herself a single mom with three kids, two of whom had special needs. It felt like “everything stopped," she said. Her career, her return to the workplace, the professional life she had worked so hard to build, all would have to be put on hold, perhaps indefinitely.
Today, Re-Ignite is rewriting the script for Joella and many others like her. It's a paid program from Johnson & Johnson for professionals in science, technology, engineering, math, manufacturing and design (STEM2D) who've been out of their field for at least two or more years and want to return to that line of work.
Let's take an inside look at Joella's remarkable journey, her challenges and triumphs so far—and how you can join her when you reignite your own career with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies today.
Even while raising three children alone, Joella never fully pushed the idea of having a career out of her mind. Eventually, as her children grew older, she realized, “It’s now or never—not only for my own sanity, but because my kids need a role model.”
Yet, when she started clicking around on job boards, she noticed something troubling: It seemed like everyone either wanted a recent college grad or someone with five or 10 years of recent experience. “I just thought to myself, ‘This is crazy!’” She began to wonder: Aren't there any jobs out there for people like me?
Fortunately, a friend introduced her to the idea of “returnship” programs, which help people return to the workforce after time away. After an, ahem, "flood" of Googling, Joella finally landed on the Re-Ignite program at Johnson & Johnson, and the more she read about it, the more it spoke to her.
Today, as part of the 2019 Re-Ignite program, Joella’s applying her unique perspective, experience and expertise to tackle next-generation health challenges at Johnson & Johnson. One example of that is the software she’s helping to develop for a mobile app that will support patients as they prepare for surgery. She sees her work as integral to the project. As she put it: “One line of code is part of another few thousand lines of code, all of which can potentially change the outcome of someone’s surgery.”
Despite all of her success with Johnson & Johnson, Joella's journey back to the workforce hasn't been without challenges.
For one, she doubted herself—even when everyone around her appeared to be happy with the work she was doing. "In reality, the challenges I faced had more to do with my own expectations than the expectations at Johnson & Johnson," she said. "What I thought were technical issues turned out to be self-confidence issues."
Eventually, though, she settled in and found her rhythm. "It took almost three months before I really felt like, 'I got this,'" she recalled.
She also remembers the first time she sat in on a technical meeting and realized that she understood everything—it felt like a breakthrough, or Eureka! moment, the first proof she had that all of her hard work was paying off. "I felt like I could take a sigh of relief, knowing that it was going to be OK, it was going to work out," she said.
So, what is Joella most proud of so far? For her, the answer is self-evident: "It's the fact that I'm even here. That I'm doing it." I'm taking on challenges, being challenged to grow and making breakthroughs every day.
She added: "Having a mentor and a buddy has been another key for me, as has the fact that everybody at Johnson & Johnson, across the board, has been so welcoming."
When the time is right for you and your family, the Re-Ignite program at Johnson & Johnson is more than a foot in the door. It’s an end-to-end, holistic program to support and launch the next phase in your career journey. As Joella put it, "Having this program in place, knowing that leaders at Johnson & Johnson are giving me time, that they believe in me—that has meant the world to me."
So if, like Joella, you're ready to get back to the workforce and make an impact, be sure to learn more about the Re-Ignite program—or apply for your spot on one of our dynamic teams today!