The best career for parents meets the needs of the family. In American culture, we tend to think of careers in terms of money, how much can be made, how much can be bought. What’s left out of that equation is economic status and scheduling. For some, these factors can be determinant of a career choice even debilitating at times. So what if we didn’t ignore them? What if we used them?
When I found myself in a pinch, I discovered the best way to get food on the table was to deliver it. Inevitably, an order would be filled wrong, a customer would change his/her mind, and that already-made food would be mine to take home.
When I needed child care, I sought others in the same situation and started baby-sitting where I could not only earn money but raise up my own children as well.
If your children are at school all day, watch for jobs opening at their campus. Most schools post online when jobs open up in administration, after-school care, bus driving, cafeteria, janitorial, landscaping, and more. Staying close to the school and on the same calendar can be a great opportunity for income without scheduling hassle. If they are not posting, find out what companies serve these departments and go straight to the source. Some schools contract with a certain landscaping company or a specific food service agency. That is another avenue to staying close to your children while earning an income.
The gig economy and work-from-home opportunities are numerous and use your family car, your home, or your internet connection to provide a service for income.
I’ve met parents who are excellent at volunteering for service exchange, and that could provide a much needed resource to the family. Programs such as Big Brother/Big Sister, Job Corps, AmeriCorps, and other nonprofits need personnel from time to time and have a focus on providing for families.
Think about skills that you have that may not require a degree or time-consuming training to launch a career: web development/coding, writing/blogging, public relations/coaching, tax preparation, bartending, cleaning, consulting, event planning, real estate, sales.
Notice what is needed in your area. Whether your community focuses on technology or agriculture, this could guide you toward finding what is already available locally.
It’s worth considering what job as a child you wanted to grow into. Many of the assistant positions (physicians, dental, veterinarian, teaching) could get you into the field of interest without elongated academic preparation or a full-time career schedule. Some civil service careers have entry-level opportunities or volunteer opportunities that will get you trained and certified in a much-needed field; I know several parents who use reserve military contracts much the same way.
Some may have the opportunity to start afresh as a parent going to school to establish a more stable and consistent income. The three questions to ask yourself are:
1. What am I good at or interested in?
2. What serves my family well?
3. Will this pay off?
These can launch you into a new chapter of life with the motivation to use your opportunity.
Whatever your path, focusing on your family’s distinct needs, your skills, and your interests may start a hope for a better life.
By Yaki Cahoon