Balancing work and family is a challenge, but it is possible. We have expert
advice on how to tailor a job that fits your family life.
Striking a cohesive balance between work and family is a complex issue
because there are no easy solutions to consider or one-size-fits-all
approach. It is a topic that has also risen to the top of many employers’
consciousness as they continuously seek options to retain their most
valuable employees. The key ingredient for employees that have created a
successful arrangement is customization. Every individual or couple has
their own unique preferences to consider and formulating a specific
strategy to tackle both career and family priorities will allow you to achieve
success as only you can define it.
Widely Accepted Work Arrangements& Applicable Careers
If you are currently employed, your employer may already have certain
options in place to consider utilizing, so make sure to check with the
Human Resource Department, the company owner or your direct supervisor
for guidance. Once you have assessed your personal situation and
established the extent of your employer’s flexibility, consider the following
arrangements to customize your situation. If you are currently
unemployed, consider the applicable careers that lend well to modified
•Telecommuting – Based on the latest American Community Survey, in
2011alone, an estimated 2.8 million people in the U.S. considered their
home their primary workplace, with 20-30 million people working from
home at least one day a week. Popular careers that work well with
telecommuting are CPAs/ certified bookkeeping, network programming,
medical transcription and technical writing.
•Flextime -This option is rooted in creating a schedule that molds to your
personal needs or family obligations, given that you agree to work the
required number of hours established by your employer. Ideal careers that
are geared toward flextime are easily found in retail, interior design,
customer service, beauty salons, food and beverage industries, insurance
or financial advisement.
•Freelance/ Consulting- Ideal for creative individuals, freelance careers are
being created every day by combining a mix of artistic passion with
personal drive and organization. Successful careers that bode well with
freelance work are web design, PR consulting, scrapbook, jewelry making
and graphic design.
•Compressed workweek -In 2008, Jon Huntsman launched the “Working 4
Utah” plan to shift state workers who were putting in five-day weeks to a
Monday-through-Thursday, 7 a.m.-to-6 p.m. work schedule, bolstering
employee satisfaction and cutting unnecessary energy costs. Some careers
in government have enjoyed great success with this program as well as
consulting firms and universities.
•Job sharing – There are a variety of unique job-sharing arrangements
where partners can divide the work week in half, or delegate specific
projects to divide and conquer. Job sharing is popular in the legal
community between paralegals and legal secretaries as well as positions in
•Part time – If your financial situation can handle some dilution, working
fewer hours is often the easiest and most widely utilized method for
customizing a career. Oftentimes employers will be open to shifting a
traditionally full time position to a part time role, if you have established a
high level of trust and responsibility, and have a skill set that cannot be
Carly Hazen is Director of Recruitment at Prince, Perelson and Associates.