Our goal is to provide information, ideas and support for working women who are also full-time mothers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Career Advice?

I wouldn't call myself a great person to be giving career advice. I feel like my own career has sort of fallen into my lap. I don't think I'll ever make six figures. I don't want to have to wear a suit and pantyhose to work every day. I don't want my own secretary, lol. I don't need to be famous. Like many people, my goals in college were completely different. Things changed a lot as I matured, especially when I became a mom. On the other hand, I'm quite happy in my current job when I really think about it. My biggest pieces of advice are:
  1. Make yourself invaluable. If you are irreplaceable (or at least close to it), your company will be more likely to work with you on things that will benefit you--flex time, telecommuting, whatever you need. And don't be afraid to ask for these things. Have confidence in yourself and all that you provide for your company. You may need your job, but don't forget that they also NEED YOU.
  2. Make a pros and cons list. I think sometimes you have to work in a really crappy job to realize how good another job is, lol. I've seen a lot of co-workers/friends leave a pretty good gig thinking "the grass is greener," only to find that they HATE their new job and want to come back. So if you're thinking about leaving or your job is getting you down, make a pros and cons list. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of all the good aspects of your job (short commute, great boss, annual bonus, whatever).
  3. Decide early-on what you're willing to sacrifice. I really think there are things that need to be non-negotiable or you will not feel in control of your own life. There are plenty of career-driven moms out there who are willing to sacrifice a lot for their work. But I think a lot of us are working for simpler reasons: to just pay the bills, to get insurance, save for our children's college education, even just because we like working. But I think it's good to have a clear idea of what you will and will not sacrifice. Maybe you will not do a long commute. Maybe you will not work more than X amount of hours a week. Maybe you will not work a job that requires you to travel or be on-call. Maybe you will not accept less than X amount of dollars in salary. Whatever those non-negotiables are, stick to them.
  4. Above all, you don't have to live to work. A lot of us just work to live. My job does not define me. My family defines me. My friends define me. My hobbies and interests define me. I'd rather have time with my family than a McMansion and brand-new car. But everybody's different. I think if you figure out that priority list before you ever go job hunting, you'll be happier.


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