Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to School, Back to Work

In the schoolyard, kindergarten year, the mommies talked about returning to the paid workforce once their children went full days in first grade. Now that the economy is weak, many of them are actually doing this.

Not a week goes by that someone doesn't ask me how to find a flexible work situation. They see how I volunteer in the classroom and have a career and somehow think I've figured this out.

In reality, I gave up the career when Eldest Daughter turned one and I left my corporate job. The climb up the corporate ladder stopped then and there and I didn't care. In fact, I still don't. I just want to keep my brain engaged, set a good example for our daughters and provide for my family.

Here are some ideas for those of you mulling this over:

Retail. Jodi's husband was transferred four times during the first decade of their marriage. She worked for the Gap and whenever they arrived in a new city, she found a local store that needed a manager or assistant manager. You can also work just nights, just weekends, just while your kids are in school, or just during the holiday season.

Teach. You have summers off and work primarily the hours your children are in school. If you teach at the college level, you can teach a night class or two and your husband will have valuable time with the kids.

Jobshare. Do you have a friend who loves their job but only wants to do it half time? Approach them. This is a win for the employer, too, since they have two brains working on the same job, which often means better outcomes.

Work from home. I have a virtual assistant in Ohio. We've never met. She works from her house. You can do web design from home. Or bookkeeping. Or editing. You can do a corporate job from home a few days a week if you've already proven your worth to your employer.

Turn your hobbies into revenue. Do you love to scrapbook? Many people would love to have scrapbooks of their child's first year but aren't crafty. Are you a fabulous cook? Become a personal chef - one of those people who makes meals for busy families then drops them off to go straight into the freezer. Do you speak a second language? Tutor a few kids.

Of course all these things involve putting yourself out there. It blows me away when the most extroverted people I know tell me that they can't network. If I can do it, and those of you who know me in real life know that my social skills are marginal at best, you can. What is networking anyway? It's listening and talking. If you can talk to the parents at school functions then you can talk to people about what you want to do for work. It takes a village either way.


Thom Singer said...

It always comes back to networking!

Felicity at cubes said...

Check out Cubes&Crayons in California ( Eager to come to Austin. Great solution for those who want to stay in the work force and those who want to spend time with their kids. Also launched a professional group, outside the cube, which helps new entrepreneurs