By Cathy Boggs, Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing
The balancing act
According to a recent analysis by Ancestry.com, the proportion of working moms in the United States has gone up 800 percent since 1860, and this trend is expected to continue as more women receive college degrees.
Today, women are making a name for themselves in the workplace. Yet these same women are also starting families. When children come into the picture, many working mothers find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.
While they do not want to give up their careers, they also do not want to give up the time spent at home with their children.
One of the best solutions for this dilemma is part-time employment. This option provides working mothers with the flexibility to care for their children, while also being able to continue their career. The extra income doesn’t hurt, either.
While part-time work is a viable option for many mothers interested in staying in the workplace, it isn’t for everyone. That’s why, if you’re considering part-time employment, you need to ask yourself the following questions first:
– Are you ready for this commitment?
– Have you considered the cost of daycare?
– Are your skills up to date for today’s market?
– Will your employer be flexible when it comes to dealing with life situations?
– Is the job worth the time away from your family?
– Do you have a backup plan for when your child is sick or needs a ride to school?
Once you have considered the logistics of entering or re-entering the workforce as a working mother, it is time to start the job search.
First and foremost, be realistic with your salary expectations. More than likely, as a part-time employee, you are not going to make a six-figure salary. Do not let this deter you.
Make sure you update all of your social media platforms to be clean and professional. This includes your LinkedIn profile – use a recent photo as your profile picture and not a headshot you had taken 10 years ago.
Update your resume if you haven’t already. Be sure to include any volunteer work you participated in during your hiatus from the workforce. Also, reach out to your network. Let your old coworkers or employers know that you’re in the market again. They may be able to connect you with a company that will be flexible with your needs, or they may be open to rehire.
Think about contacting an employment agency that can help guide you and identify part-time needs that may not be posted on job boards.
Some of the best part-time careers for working mothers include administrative work, schoolteachers or tutors, nonprofit or church organizations, and financial or accounting work. These types of jobs typically offer on-the-job training as well.
Once you have set your sights on a part-time job, be prepared to ask some tough questions during the interview process. Remember, you want to make sure that this job is the right fit for you and the company.
Some questions to keep in mind during your interview should include:
– What is the company’s “family culture”? Do they value a work/life balance?
– Is the company flexible with hours? Would additional hours be required to work outside of the set schedule in the office
– What kind of training is available for employees
– Are there other employees/managers who have the same age children as you? If so, you may want to talk to them and get their opinions on working at the company with children.
While entering or re-entering the workplace as a mother may seem like a daunting task, it is possible. With additional resources available, it has become much easier to connect with companies with the capacity and flexibility to take on part-time employees.