flex careers

The best flex career decision I ever made

Women today are changing the dynamics of the workforce and are seeking greater flexibility in their careers. Here's what to consider.

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Carving out the best flex career can be one of the best decisions a woman ever makes, but just don’t fool yourself, it ain’t easy.

For me, the normal 9 to 5 working week simply stopped working once children came on the scene.

Call it Mummy guilt or just exhaustion, the realisation happened when I was stuck in traffic for an hour-and-a-half trying to get home to my baby and relieve the nanny. My stomach was in knots and I was in tears.

Suddenly the thrill of the corporate life with its long lunches, long days and networking perks, were over. I was done, at least for that moment in time.

Something on the career front just had to give. I needed to be home more and still keep making similar money.

Thankfully I was already in career that offered more flexible than others, because writing content can be done at almost anytime and any where.

But this isn’t the case for everyone. As it stands, the health and education sectors tend to employ the most women but the ability to work flexibility or from home in these industries isn’t always an option.

The other issue which tends to affect women is that many of the career paths which tend to offer more flexibility or freedom to work your own hours aren’t traditionally dominated by women.

When it comes to pay, the best flex careers, according to Forbes tend to be computer or phone based be that information technology, tax and accounting, and sales.

Simone McLaughlin founder of Jobs Shared says its’s important to think of the big picture when considering flexibly working.

“When you’re a mum, finding a job that fits around drop offs and pick ups might be great short-term, but if there’s no path for further career progress when you’re ready it could be a false economy.

“According to statistics from Financy’s Women’s Index, the average woman has 30 per cent less superannuation savings in retirement than men. We can start improving these statistics if we consider our careers long-term, rather than focusing on a short-term fix.”

If you are looking for a more flexible career path and you need to keep those dollars coming in, here’s what you need to consider.

  • Be prepared to change or adjust your career to one that offers flexibility and pays what you need to live and thrive. There’s no point working for peanuts forever because it gives you flexibility, you need a career that has scope for improved pay if you’ve earned it.
  • Be prepared to work anytime of day. As tough as this may sound, somethings just don’t happen in normal office hours when you have kids and you work from home, so be prepared to work in the early hours of the morning if you need to, and of course if you can.
  • Find a career that feels rewarding. You need that sense of satisfaction when everything around you turns to chaos, and it often can when you are juggling work and family.
  • Keep networking. When you work from home or aren’t having as many face-to-face meetings as you used to, it’s important to keep networking. This can still be done over a skype or facetime.

The most common career types that offer flexibly are:

  • Start your own tech business – have a go at something you love that you know you can make money from and which can be done mostly online.
  • Virtual assistant – this might be managing content, bookkeeping or technology or design work.
  • Content writer – be it writing for news media, blogs or corporates and even government. There is always a need for good writers.
  • Advertising, marketing and designer roles – thanks to technology there are so many roles that no longer require face to face deliverables.

The list can and does go on.

Next month, Financy and Jobs Shared are running the first of many women’s breakfasts on flex, finance and your future in Brisbane. We hope that it will help more women make better flexible work and money decisions.

If  you can make it, we’d love to see you there.

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