Any working parent will tell you that although raising children is rewarding, there's a constant struggle for work/life balance. Whether they're working overtime to help make ends meet or rushing after work to get the kids to soccer practice, the reality is that it's difficult to be an active parent and productive worker. (Difficult, not impossible.)
Today's economy doesn't help, as parents are feeling added pressure to spend more time on work to provide for the family. Thirty percent of working moms whose companies have had layoffs in the past year are working longer hours, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com.* Fourteen percent have taken on a second job in the last year, 43 percent work more than 40 hours per week and 16 percent said they bring work home at least two days a week.
"Nearly one-third [of mothers] say that despite it being one of the toughest economies in the nation's history, they would consider taking a pay cut to spend more time with their kids," said Mary Delaney, president of CareerBuilder's talent management and recruitment outsourcing division, Personified, and mother of three. "If you're struggling with work/life balance, talk to your manager. Working moms who communicate their need for flexible time, job sharing or something in between will find that most companies are receptive to these kinds of policies."
Many working parents have already communicated that desire: 55 percent of working moms said they take advantage of flexible work arrangements at their organizations. The majority of these women say their new schedules haven't adversely affected their career progress.
If your company doesn't offer a flexible or alternative schedule to help you work around your family commitments, maybe it's time to think about working in a family-friendly career. Here are five to consider:
Not only have your parenting experiences helped prepare you for life in the classroom, you couldn't ask for a better schedule that complies with your family's needs. Most teachers are able to be at home in the evenings; plus, you can enjoy the same summer and winter vacations, and no-school days as your kids. And depending on the age you teach, you'll be able to work in the same institution as your little ones.
Education: Bachelor's degree and state teaching license
Average annual salary: $44,137
2. Registered nurse
RN's have extremely flexible schedules: Most work three to four 12-hour shifts per week, plus a certain number of weekends and holidays per year. Evening and weekend shifts allow you to share duties with your spouse.
Education: Either a four-year university program, a two-year associate degree program, or a three-year diploma program, and state RN licensing
Average annual salary: $62,450
Bookkeepers are often able to work from home, either from a company-provided computer or if you work privately with traders or accountancy firms. Working from home is ideal if you have young children to look after.
Education: High school diploma, accounting coursework and relevant work experience
Average annual salary: $32,510
4. Personal trainer
One huge perk of being a personal trainer is the flexible hours. Most trainers work part time, scheduling client's appointments around their own schedules. Many trainers work nights and weekends and can work in the gym or out of a client's home.
Average annual salary: $29,210
5. Family child-care provider
The majorities of family child-care workers are self-employed and work out of their own homes. They have flexible hours and daily routines, watching children during the day and evenings while other parents are at work or away. While they may work long or unusual hours to fit parents' work schedules, these workers are also able to care for their own children in a familiar setting.
Education: Each state has its own licensing requirements; state requirements are generally higher for workers at child care centers than for family child-care providers
Average annual salary: $18,970
*Survey conducted from Feb. 20 to Mar. 11, 2009, among 496 women, employed full-time, with children under the age of 18.
** Education and salary information according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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