If you love your career and have worked hard to achieve success in your chosen profession, the idea of letting it all go because you want to start a family can be pretty depressing. Of course, you don’t have to – you can return to your job after having children and use daycare or employ a nanny, or your partner may wish to be the one who stays home with the kids.
It’s a choice every parent has to make, and if you’re happy then that’s great; but if you want the best of both worlds, how can you spend extra time with your kids and still make progress with your career?
One approach to continuing your career progression while still spending plenty of time with your children is to look at flexible working. You’d need to have an employer who’s willing and able to make changes, but if you’re a valuable asset to your company a reasonable boss is more likely to agree to accommodate your wishes than risk losing you altogether.
The kind of flexible working you can arrange depends on the type of work you do. If your job involves having to be present on the shop or factory floor, then reducing or rescheduling your hours is a possibility. If you could do all or part of your job on a telecommute basis, that would give you far more flexibility to work around the times when your kids are awake and need your attention.
The traditional view of people who work part-time or have a flexible schedule is that their career progression prospects are limited. It’s ok to work that way, the theory goes, but you can’t expect to make progress in your career unless you’re working full-time. That idea is out of touch with modern ways of working and managing a career, so don’t assume that arranging a part-time or flexible working schedule is going to limit your opportunities.
You may have to be more proactive in looking for and taking advantage of opportunities, but there are plenty of ways you can continue to make progress by:
- Attending conferences
- Going on training days or courses
- Working on special projects in your own time
- Putting yourself forward for important tasks and projects
- Write for industry publications
- Speak at conferences and seminars
- Logging all your professional development activities
You might need to put extra time into your work now and then so you can go away on courses and attend conferences, but you’d have had to make sacrifices like these if you were working full-time or still based at your workplace the whole day anyway.
Training and qualifications
The other way to continue to make progress in your career while raising your family is through study and training. In many ways, this is an ideal time to focus on gaining more qualifications, and with the development of online courses and training, you have the chance to further your education and gain more qualifications without having to attend college.
Even careers that don’t seem to lend themselves to online learning have courses that use online tools and facilities for at least part of the training. For example, if you’re a registered nurse, you could take an RN to MSN nurse educator online course that gives you the skills and qualifications to supervise and train nurses, either in hospital settings or nursing schools. You combine on-the-job training with academic study in your own time, making this a flexible and effective way to advance your career.
Having children is a joy that can’t be quantified, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your career if it’s important to you. It’s always worth investigating the possible ways in which you can continue to progress in your career because you might be surprised at the options available in your industry. If you can’t see any opportunities, try looking into how you could make some for yourself, which is a good way to impress your boss with your enthusiasm and dedication. When you’re considering how best to continue making progress in your career, make sure you’re realistic about how you’re going to manage your time. You need to strike a balance between spending time with the children and spending time at work, without overdoing things and exhausting yourself or becoming chronically stressed. If your arrangements aren’t working, look at how you could make changes and discuss how everything’s going with your boss so you can ensure a successful balance between career and family.