Two years ago, I was sitting at my desk at a full-time office job, daydreaming about finding a more balanced life. A life where I could be present for school drop offs and pick ups, and participate in parent-volunteer opportunities, while continuing to work in a career that I loved. At the time, I didn't know that there were other options. I thought that I had to choose between my career and staying home full time with my children, and the latter just wasn't an option for me.
When I started crunching the numbers and thinking more seriously about my options, I came to the conclusion that I could explore part-time work opportunities, so long as I was willing to make a few sacrifices. Now that I've transitioned from a full-time office career to a part-time work-from-home job to an all-over-the-place schedule as a self-employed mompreneur, I thought I would share with you five things to consider before making the shift from WOMO (working mom) to WAHM (work at home mom).
1. Opportunities Are Scarce
It's one thing to decide that a part-time job will work for you and your family, but quite another to actually find part-time job opportunities. Unfortunately, it's still not the norm for companies to create part-time opportunities that accommodate family life.
Tip: Find and secure a part-time job before you quit your full-time day job.
2. Money Matters
Part-time hours are great, but part-time pay is not. If you find a part-time work opportunity with a fabulous company, you're on your way to living the dream. But it's important to remember that fewer work hours means less income for your family.
When I made the transition, I thought that the money we would save from taking our children out of daycare/after-school care would compensate for the lower salary that I would be bringing in. What I didn't take into account was that I would actually need time to work, and with young children in the house, finding the time to actually get work done would be next to impossible. I also hadn't accounted for extra costs like summer camp. Self employment can be even more challenging, because in many cases, your income and hours become unpredictable.
3. Support Is Key
It takes a village... When you have children, it's important to make sure that you have the support you need from your family and friends before you decide to work from home and/or start your own business, because your decision will affect others more than you realize. Your partner will need to be involved in some of your cost-cutting plans, and the lack of structure that comes with self-employment will leave you relying on help from family and friends.
4. Job Satisfaction
Before applying for and accepting a part-time job opportunity, it's important to really think about whether or not the actual job in question will satisfy your needs. The appeal of a shortened work schedule can sometimes blind you from what the actual job entails. Before you take the job, it's important to ask yourself: will I still be doing work that I love?
5. Long-term Goals
It's not only important to ensure that the career change will satisfy your personal needs, but it's also important to consider your long-term goals. Where do you hope to take your career? If your desire is to move up the corporate ladder with an organization, chances are, those senior-level opportunities will go to the employees who have made a full-time commitment to their work.
Working from home can be rewarding in many ways, but it's important to see beyond the daydream before making the decision to change your career. Do your research and take the time to plan before you commit to a new lifestyle. Remember that there are always pros and cons to both sides of the working world. Do what works best for you and your family. And if you have any questions, I'm here for you!
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