Dear Working Mother,

I’m considering a career change.

I’ve spent 17 years knocking around accounting departments and studying business/finance by night. Last year I quit my job. I love being at home with my kids but I’m not one to sit still. I’m thinking to the future and what I might do when my little man heads off to school down the line.

I’m pretty sure I don’t want to head back into full time employment. And if I’m brutally honest I’m not sure if I want to spend the rest of my days crunching numbers.

Flexibility. That’s what I really want. Like every other working mother I know, flexibility is top of my wish list. I want to work when my kids are in school but be there for them as much as I can when they’re not. My career ambitions have become somewhat more modest since the arrival of my children.

There are a lot of careers out there that lend themselves to part-time or freelance work and might offer both flexibility and fulfilment. Careers such as web design, graphic design, writing, project management, online marketing, photography, programming, IT Support… this list is ever growing.

If you have an aptitude or an interest in an area that has the potential to become a freelance career, this can be a great option. Websites such as elance.com are the perfect place to take a look at the kind of freelance jobs that are available right now.

So how easy/difficult is it to uproot and change careers? We all have bills to pay, children to feed, mortgage repayments to make. Changing career can seem like a daunting task when faced with the monthly financial reality of life. However, it may not be as difficult as you fear. Here are some helpful hints;

1. Make a list of your likes and dislikes – figure out what excites you and what you feel passionate about. It’s equally important to note what you dislike and demotivates you about your current career. This will help direct your new career search.

2. Look at new career possibilities – spend some time researching the types of careers that centre around your passions. Depending on the extent of the career change, this step make take some time.

3. Make a list of your transferrable skills – You can use some of your current skills and experiences in your new career. There are many skills (such as communication, leadership, planning etc.) that are transferrable and appropriate to your new chosen career.

4. Retrain and education – it may be necessary to update your skills and extend your knowledge for the career path you’re investigating. A lot of employers are will to pay for education if it benefits the company so don’t be afraid to ask. Returning to education is a big commitment. Take it slowly. Work consistently and don’t lose sight of what you’re working towards.

5. Networking – networking is key to a successful career change. Your network (family, friends, colleagues etc.) may be able to give you job pointers, offer information about particular companies or industries and introduce you to others thereby expanding your network. Use social media such as LinkedIn to network also.

6. Gain experience – you will need to gain some experience in your new chosen career. Getting a part-time job or volunteering is a good way to gain experience and also helps you reaffirm the decision to change to this career path.

7. Make the move – start looking for permanent roles in your new chosen career.

8. Be realistic – you may have clocked up years of experience in your old career but there’s a real possibility you’ll be starting at an entry level position in your new chosen career. Consider this as a new start that will serve as a platform for bigger career fulfilment. Be realistic in terms of your budget with a potentially smaller salary due to the career shift. Be prepared to cut out all non-essentials while you work your way back up the ladder.

Sincerely,

Martina Perry
The Working Mother

P.S. Are you desperate to escape the 9-5 and swap your regular job for a family friendly career that you can do from your home?

Throughout the month of November, Catriona Ellis of Undercover Escape is helping a select group of working mothers do just that, with her 30 day escape challenge.

Each day for 30 days Catriona will share an escape nugget which will include income options… the essential steps to a successful escape… the critical pieces to take care of before resigning… financial tips on getting the balance right and much, much more… She will also post a short daily video to this select group with the nugget of information along with a very simple mini-challenge to complete.

By the end of November, each participating working mother will have at least 30 actions taken towards their escape. It’s €30 to take part in the challenge but Catriona has very kindly given us one free place on this course for one of our readers.

If you’re interesting in taking part in this competition please comment on this post. Winner will be selected on November 12th.