How do you get a good job that allows you to have the family life you want?
So, you’ve had a baby or two or three, etc, and you’ve realised that the job you were doing before is not going to work for your family set-up. What do you do?
Consider whether asking for any additional flexibility might improve the situation. Be open-minded as to what that might include, whether reduced hours, some homeworking, flexi hours, annualised hours, etc, or a combination of several possibilities.
Consider how you could adapt your original job to work in more flexibility, for instance, delegating certain tasks to others, automating parts of it where possible, honing your focus…Who knows, it might make you more effective…
Make a strong case to your employer about why this is the way forward, taking into account any impact on other colleagues, etc. If you can show that you have thought this through carefully, weighing up your own and your employer’s needs you are more likely to be successful.
List your skills and think of any possible available job that might fit around your family’s needs. Again, think broadly.
Many of your skills will be transferable to other sectors and areas. Consider sectors that you might have overlooked before. They might have good career prospects and offer more interesting roles than you thought. Be open-minded and talk to as many people from different walks of life as you can.
Join LinkedIn professional groups, sign up for workingmums.co.uk’s job alerts, read about how other parents manage things…They may not be doing jobs that you want to do, but reading about and talking to other parents can stimulate the thought processes.
Consider ‘the portfolio career’ which involves doing multiple jobs. For instance, you could reduce the hours in your regular job and take a freelance or self employed or other part time job on the side.
It could be something that you feel passionately about, but which you need to build up in order to make it your main job; it could just allow you to supplement part-time earnings while giving you greater flexibility on the days you are not at your original job; it could allow you time to study on the side; or it could just allow you the space to experiment with other options and open up other possibilities.
Consider retraining if you can afford it or retrain while you work if you can find, for instance, an older apprenticeship or other on the job training. It may be worth it in the long run if you can find a career that is more flexible.
The important thing is to be creative and to try to think out of the box about your skills. Go back to basics and rediscover what those skills are, who you are, what you like doing [for instance, is there some aspect of your job you could develop more?]. A good coach can help you work your way through all the above options.
Remember, necessity is the mother of invention and you are a mother! Adaptability, creativity and general resourcefulness are skills you will be demonstrating and honing every day – and they are skills that more and more of us will need in a future where old jobs are being replaced and new jobs are coming online all the time.