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Choosing a Family Friendly Work Style
by Sandy Anderson, M.B.A., Ph.D.
- Part-time Work
Part-time work is widely accepted, with 57 percent of all employees working this schedule. Part-time professional opportunities are growing 25 times faster than other full-time or nonprofessional part-time jobs. What's exciting about this increase is that part-time professional positions are paying well. According to Catalyst, the New York research firm specializing in women in the workforce, one third of corporate part-timers earned salaries ranging from $35,000 to over $100,000 a year. Lawyers and accountants earned even more, with two-thirds in the $80,000 to over $100,000 salary range. It's women who are on the forefront of the part-time movement. A whopping 97 percent are moms who wish to spend more time with their families.
Advantages of Part-time Work:
- You'll have more time for family and personal interests.
- It allows for a wider range of flexible scheduling possibilities.
- You may receive prorated pay and benefits.
- This option is easy to start, especially if you're already established and have a good track record with a company.
Disadvantages of Part-time Work:
- Your job may require full-time effort and may not be suitable.
- Your pay and promotions may be less frequent.
- You may be viewed as less committed by managers and coworkers.
- You may be one of the first to get laid off.
- Working fewer hours reduces your income.
- You may have less time to interact with coworkers.
- You may miss out on critical information if you're not present full time.
- Temporary Work
According to the National Association of Temporary Staffing Services (NATSS), there are 1.3 million temporary workers today, a population that has tripled over the last ten years. Since 1982 the temporary worker population has risen 250 percent, while the nation's total workforce has increased by only 20 percent.
Just what is "temporary work?" Temporary work is found through temporary employment agencies. Temporary employment agencies work by recruiting a pool of workers or "temps" who they can send out on jobs or "assignments" when a company or "client" has a position to fill.
Temps sign up with a particular agency and register their requests in the agency's database. The beauty of this is that it's possible to specify that you want a position for certain days or hours, or that you wish to work full time during certain times of the year.
Generally, the company you work for pays a fee to the agency in addition to the temp's salary. Companies like this because when they have a short-term need for a worker, it's cheaper than hiring a full-time employee with benefits.
Temporary agencies like Kelly Girls have specialized in clerical and administrative positions-where about half of the temporary workforce reside. However, in larger cities, there are temp agencies catering to almost every profession-accountants, engineers, lawyers, management executives, computer programmers, and financial and insurance services.
Advantages of Temporary Work:
- You have more time for family and personal interests.
- You can pick and choose your job assignments.
- You can make a gradual transition back to the workforce if you've been away for awhile.
- You can experiment with different jobs and work environments.
- You can try out different employers to find a good fit.
- You can get on-the-job training, and some temporary agencies provide training.
- The work comes to you so you don't have to beat the pavements looking for a job.
- You don't have to deal with the paperwork involved with billing and taxes that self-employed people do.
Disadvantages of Temporary Work:
- It may be difficult to get childcare if your schedule isn't constant.
- Your job is only as secure as your last paycheck.
- You sometimes work at a lower rate than employees doing the same work.
- You may not feel like part of the team.
- You probably won't receive any employee benefits such as health care insurance.
- You may end up doing the work that no one else desires.
- You may miss out on employee training, rewards, and recognition from your employer.
- You usually have to arrange your schedule in accordance with the client's business hours.
- Your paychecks will be cyclical and you'll experience periods of feast-or-famine.
- You probably won't be able to work from home.
- Home Business
Women are starting businesses at an explosive rate, and most of these businesses are run out of the home. Over 40 million Americans own and operate home businesses-generating annual revenues of $500 billion-and the majority are run by women. Home businesses are the fastest growing segment of the American work force.
Advantages of Home Business:
You have control over:
- Scheduling of your time (e.g., personal, family, and work roles)
- Your income level
- Job security
- How you dress
- Your level of stress
- Whom you work with
- Your environment
- Your career destiny
- You have no commute.
- You don't have to purchase an expensive wardrobe.
- You can create a more balanced existence.
- You can spend more time with family and friends.
- You can be a good role model and socialize your kids for the world of work.
- You have more personal time because you don't have to commute to an office.
- You can be your own boss.
- You can take advantage of tax breaks
- You have low overhead because you don't have to rent an outside office.
Disadvantages of Home Business:
- Lack of self-discipline
- Lack of support from family and friends
- No physical separation of work and family
- Self-imposed stress
- Concern over business image (e.g., lack of "professionalism")
- Difficulty in getting loans for start-up
- Hard to find good "in-home" childcare
- Easy to gain weight and allow your physical appearance to slide
Best Work-at-Home Careers for Moms: Whether you can work at home with kids present will depend on the ages of your children (Do they require close supervision?), their personalities (Are they fussy or clingy?), and your line of work (Will your business require a lot of phone work or client visits?). The best businesses for moms are those that allow you to work a "flex" schedule (while children are asleep, occupied, napping, or at school). The following businesses require work that can be done during the wee hours of the morning or late at night while children are asleep.
- Bill Auditor
- Computer Programmer
- Child-Care Provider
- Desktop Publisher
- Editorial Service
- Freelance Writer
- Home Tutoring
- Gift Basket Business
- Information Broker
- Mailing List Service
- Mail-Order Business
- Medical Billing Service
- Medical Transcription Service
- Newsletter Publishing
- Proposal and Grant Writer
- Public Relations Specialist
- Resume-Writing Service
- Reunion Planner
- Tax Preparation Service
- Technical Writer
- Transcript-Digesting Service
- Word-Processing Service
© by Sandy Anderson. All rights reserved.
Sandy Anderson, M.B.A., Ph.D. in psychology, and Certified Career Transition Coach, is the author of Women in Career & Life Transitions (JIST, October, 1999, ISBN# 1-573770-670-9) and The Work at Home Balancing Act (Avon Books, September 1998, ISBN# 0-380-79801-8) which are available in bookstores nationwide or on the Internet at www.amazon.com.
Sandy Anderson is an author, writer, speaker, consultant and coach on the topics of job and career transition and women's workplace issues. Her works have been published in "American Baby" Magazine, "New Woman" Magazine, "Entrepreneurial Edge" Magazine, "Realtor" Magazine and "Opportunity" Magazine.
She is the author of Women in Career and Life Transitions, from JIST and The Work at Home Balancing Act, from Avon Books. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in business, and a Ph.D. in psychology. She is affiliated with the National Association of Female Executives and the American Association of Home-Based Business. © Sandy Anderson. All rights reserved.
The world of work is ever-changing. Not only are new careers popping up daily, but the capacity in which people work is also changing. Working the traditional nine-to-five schedule for an employer is quickly becoming the "less preferred" work arrangement, especially for women with families and various other personal desires and commitments. Work styles with "flex" hours are "in" and they are here to stay. To help you decide which work style best suits your needs, the following is a list of the pros and cons of the three most popular flex arrangements: part-time work, temporary work, and home business.