How to Find a Family-Friendly Job
Are you raising a family? Do you have little ones whom you consider your greatest blessing and your highest responsibility? That’s great!
When looking for a job, you and your spouse – or you, if you are a single parent-are certain to weigh the hours you’d be working against the time you spend at home.
Along this vein, you most likely will lean heavily towards a work culture which offers Moms and Dads all the little extras that make it possible to juggle work and home – with the understanding that home comes first.
In fact, it may be that you’ve left certain careers or industries behind because they weren’t flexible enough to allow you to perform your parent role. If so, good for you! It’s not always easy to balance work and family, but it can – and does – happen. A few industries have built a reputation for themselves for being more family friendly than others.
“But I have to be reasonable,” you might be thinking. “I have to consider the business’ side, too. I need to know which requests or requirements are realistic, and which are downright out-of-the-question. In other words, what do I have a right to expect?”
Good thinking. Why don’t we look at what you have every right to be looking for, as a prudent parent and, a bit further down, we’ll point you in the direction of a few industries which seem to pride themselves on servicing the needs of family workers?
How Companies Work With Family Men and Women
First of all, we have no doubt that you realize that not every company that you interview with will be open to the family perks that we’re going to list here, but don’t let that stop you. Every “no” will bring you closer to a “yes”.
Hang in there and keep interviewing and keep asking for the family-friendly perks that matter most to you. Yes, you may have to negotiate a bit and perhaps take a cut in salary or leave out a few of your requirements and opt for the most important ones.
You can determine which companies embrace family men and women right away, during an interview. How? Ask!
If you feel that the interview is going in the right direction, be specific as to what you need. You’ll find that family-friendly outfits are simply more open to discussing and to granting a little leeway in the following areas:
Flextime – “I need to get home to my daughters/sons before sundown—at least most days, ” you probably are thinking. “The last thing I’d want to do is miss their once-in-a-lifetime games and awards ceremonies. Also, we need to get in some quality one-on-one time before shuteye, right?”
Right again! One of the ways in which companies demonstrate a willingness to work with staffers who have families at home is to offer flexible work hours, or flextime schedules. During interviews, ask about the company’s policy on flextime—or working from home.
A Minimum of Time On The Road – You might have heard of Moms and Dads who are away from home so often that their kids bemoan the fact that there’s a parent who seems to miss out on important events in their young lives.
Hey, we know this resonates with you –awards ceremonies only come around once for your little ones, as do plays in which they have auditioned for and been granted a special portrayal, or a sports event which promises to bring the entire community out to witness your young athlete’s performance.
“Sorry, son/honey, I have to work and won’t be there,” isn’t what your children or spouse want to hear—especially not time after time.
Ask your hiring manager if there will be much time on the road.
Take Kids to Work? – This may not be the most important factor to consider if you’re a family Mom or Pop but, honestly, kids love seeing where their parent(s) work(s). For instance, let’s say you work setting up or repairing machinery in, of all places, a chocolate factory. Can you just see your kids’ faces as you escort them around the various departments, especially the ones with delicious chocolate aromas? There might even be a treat or two in store!
Stuff like that – allowing kids to visit –whether during work hours or on weekends—can bring real joy to both the parent and the child. Ask your employer-to-be about it.
Child Care Provided On-Site – Here’s a biggie. (Do I hear a chorus of “Oh, yeah”s?) When your kids are below a certain age, there will come a time when you will need help in watching them…especially if you’re a single parent, or if you and your spouse ever overlap work times so you’re both away from home at the same time. Perhaps you don’t your child to be a latchkey child, and maybe you simply haven’t yet found someone whom you feel can be trusted to care for your child. On-site childcare is something you’ll want to ask about—although you may never have a chance to use it; it’s reassuring to know that it’s right there…on your worksite…and that you’ll only be a short distance from your child at all times.
Going home-time will be less stressful…no making arrangements to rush from work to pick up your child at the babysitter’s!
Job Sharing – If you think about it, being able to be one-half of a tag team when it comes to job tasks makes perfect sense for a career Mom or Dad. Your job will never be left untended. You won’t have to come back, after an emergency leave of a day or two caring for a sick child, say, to angry clients or piles of paper which have quadrupled. Definitely ask your hiring manager about job sharing…and don’t be shy about proposing the idea, if the business you’re interviewing with hasn’t yet implemented the concept.
The take-away here might be that you need a company that will appreciate the work you do WHENEVER you do it. If you have to leave work on the dot to pick up your child from school, and you work on a presentation at home to meet a deadline, you want a company that will appreciate the RESULTS…not necessarily the man-or woman-hours spent at your desk.
OK, now let’s talk about family-friendly industries: we’ve got health care, education, public relations, real estate and sales.
The fields mentioned above offer decent salaries, but be prepared to run into the issue of taking a pay cut for the benefits which are most important to you. What that means is that you’ll need to be firm in your own mind about your priorities. As mentioned earlier, you just may need to negotiate – but, as a Mom or Dad, taking a lower salary for the convenience of a flexible work environment will probably sound like a pretty good deal.