Whether you are returning to the workforce after years of stay-at-home parenting or searching for a job for the very first time, the hunt for employment can be a daunting and overwhelming process. There are several factors to consider when it comes to selecting a job that satisfies your goals as both a professional and a parent. It may be helpful to ask yourself the following three questions when deciding whether a job is right for you and your family:
Does This Job Showcase My Skills?
When applying for jobs, ask yourself whether the position utilizes your strengths and abilities. For example, if you are organized, have excellent penmanship, and are quick on your feet, you might be well-suited for a job as a secretary or personal assistant, whereas people who are extremely outgoing and patient would do well in the management or customer service industries. Selecting a job that aligns with your skills is best for both yourself and the company for whom you choose to work because it leads to a sense of confidence and pride in one’s work. Additionally, when an employer is confident in your ability to do the job given to you, he or she is more likely to consider you for future promotions and benefits. If you are unsure of your skills, there are online resources available that evaluate your skill set through a series of questions and then match those skills to occupations.
How Much Time Am I Able to Commit?
It is no secret that the life of a parent is extremely hectic. In addition to household chores and meal preparation, there are pick-ups and drop-offs, recitals, meetings, and practices that consume a large amount of a parent’s time. Consider whether a part-time or full-time job makes sense for you and your family. Part-time jobs offer more flexibility and free time for family activities but often come with fewer, if any, benefits and less pay. Full-time, 9-to-5 jobs provide a steady schedule, stream of income, and benefits but may result in less time for family activities and household chores. Then before committing to a position, make sure you are comfortable with the days and hours that the job demands. For example, retail or food service positions require some late nights or early mornings to restock and take inventory. Or maybe you know that you need to be able to pick your child up from school every day at 4:30 p.m. Knowing both your prior commitments and the demands of a job will prove extremely helpful when determining if a particular job is right for you.
Can This Job Support My Family?
When offered a job, it can be easy to get caught up in excitement and relief and forget to ask what the job offers in terms of pay and benefits. Some people may be hesitant to ask this question in interviews for fear of seeming greedy, but often, employers mean to state the pay and simply forget. Be aware that in some states, it is illegal for a potential employer to ask you about your salary history or past benefits. This is to prevent discrimination. While it is true that some money is better than no money, it is important to also be realistic and consider the minimum salary needed for you and your family to feel comfortable and be supported. If faced with several job offers, make sure to compare salaries, health care benefits, and opportunities for continued education before deciding on a new career.
Find a Job That Is Meaningful
Having to be at work, away from your kids, during the day may be tough sometimes. In fact, you may wish to be a stay-at-home parent but find that it’s financially unfeasible or will negatively impact your future career. It’s important to find a job that is rewarding, because some days you may need a really good reason to take you away from your kids. Look for a job that is meaningful to you, while securing your future financially and allowing you to provide for your family.
When it comes to selecting a job, there is no right or wrong choice. What may be the perfect job for one individual may not be the best fit for you. While the three questions are important starting points, there may be other factors that need to be considered for you and your family, such as on-site day care, proximity to home or school, or maternity and/or paternity leave. Above all else, take the time to discover your preferences and evaluate all your options. Doing so enables you to be confident in the choice you are making for you and your family.