I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but the first day of year is as good as any to make a decision to change your work arrangement. If you find yourself stressed on a daily basis, or you feel guilty because you have missed important events for your kids or too many family dinners; the New Year may give you the inspiration to re-think your career priorities and start working on negotiating or finding a work arrangement that works for you and your family.
Not all working moms need the same things when it comes to work and family balance. The key is to figure out your priorities in both your career and your home life, and then think creatively of how you can create a work arrangement that allows you to meet those priorities. Some strategies you can pursue:
1) Negotiate a schedule change at your current job. You might decide to reduce your hours or work out a job-share arrangement. You could also just shift your hours, starting your day earlier or compressing your workweek (i.e. working four, 10-hour days).
2) Get a new boss. Your company may offer flexible work options, but your boss may have discretion in deciding who gets to work what kind of schedule. You might be able to make a move within your current company to work with a manager who better understands the benefits of flexibility.
3) Find a family-friendly company. You may need to move on to a new company that offers flexible schedules, generous time-off, and other benefits that support working moms. You can identify such a company through research (such as looking at Working Mother Magazine’s list of top employers) or through networking.
4) Make a career change. You may need to cange careers to find a profession that is more conducive to flexible work. Work that is more independent in nature can allow more flexibility. You might find that you can transfer your current skills to a new career without returning to school.
5) Go it alone. Starting your own business can allow you to create a more flexible work arrangement because you are the boss. Whether you start a consulting business providing a service to others based on what you do now, or follow your dreams and start a completely new business, the rewards in both flexibility and compensation can often outweigh the risks.
Consider these strategies as a starting point to starting thinking broadly about how changing your work will let you take control of your time. A transition will not be easy, but the outcome is worthwhile. You can change your work arrangement to have a rewarding career and also have the time you want for you and your family. You just need to make a decision to get started. And why not make that decision this year?