Whether or not you have children, you need to strike a balance between pursuing your professional goals and feeling fulfilled on an emotional level. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that women are balancing their career pursuits with their personal lives.
Because so many women are in the workplace, employers have had to change their formerly inflexible attitudes for both sexes. More and more companies are recognizing that they need to offer flexible work hours so employees can focus on their families as well as their careers.
One woman we know starts her workday at 7:00 a.m. so she can leave the office by 3 o’clock to pick up her child from school. Her husband shifts his hours a little later in the day, freeing up time in the morning so he can send the kids off with a healthy breakfast and get the house in order before he goes to work. These adjustments help them both avoid the rush hour commute, so they can spend more valuable time with their family.
Many women work multiple part-time jobs to earn the equivalent of a full-time income. This might work for you. For example, if you are a part-time student, you could work three days a week at an office job, and weekend afternoons in a retail store. This would leave you two days a week for classes and all of your evenings free for schoolwork. Your own situation and skills will determine the best part-time job arrangement for you.
Some women also choose a part-time schedule, because it allows them the time and flexibility to focus on other interests and responsibilities, from raising a family to spending time with friends to pursuing hobbies or participating in charity work.
When Doreen’s teenage son started acting out, she needed to spend more time at home. Her friend Kathy wanted to work part-time, and Doreen convinced her employer to let them share her job. Doreen works mornings while her son is at school, so she can make sure he’s home doing his homework in the afternoon rather than out with his friends. Kathy works in the afternoon, so she has mornings free for her yoga and other personal pursuits.
A job-sharing situation is generally easiest to arrange if you have already been with a company for a while and have proven that you are reliable in your work. Talk to your employer about your need to scale back your hours, and ask if there is someone more junior who could help you fulfill your job responsibilities part-time. Your colleague has the opportunity to gradually improve her job skills and position at the company, and your employer knows that two trusted workers will be sharing the responsibilities.
Working from Home
Using modern technology, working from home presents very few obstacles. When you talk on the telephone or use the computer, your customers and clients may not even know where you are. In fact, if you call technical support for a number of computer companies, their support staff is located in India , Ireland or other countries. Only their accents give them away.
If you want to work from home at least part of the week, speak with your employer. Together establish quantifiable goals that will show your employer you are still performing your job duties even as you work outside the office. Many telecommuters report they are actually more productive, since they waste less time chatting with co-workers in the office or sitting through unnecessary meetings.