Q: I had a successful career in technology sales for many years. I left the workforce about ten years ago. I have three children who are all under 10 years old. I want to return to the workforce but I need a lot of flexibility. I also don't want a traditional corporate sales career. Can you suggest any options?
A: Congratulations on your decision to return to the workforce. You raise an interesting point at an interesting time. With such economic uncertainty, we might assume that flexible work arrangements have decreased in the US. However, Families and Work Institute's 2012 National Study of Employers (NSE) has reported that flexible work arrangements have increased in some areas since 2005. These areas include flex time, flex location and taking daily time off for urgent matters when needed. Some other flexible work arrangements have decline though, including transitions to part-time schedules or career breaks for family and/or personal reasons.
The Families and Work Institute also reports that employees with flexible workplaces report higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction, better mental health and stronger intentions to remain with their employers. For more information about flexible work arrangements in the workplace, visit http://www.familiesandwork.org/.
There are many flexible work options available. A part-time schedule with a reasonable commute, a role which offers telecommuting or even starting your own business are all options you may want to consider.
As with any job search, do your research before embarking on a new career. Consider the location, job responsibilities, benefits and the potential income.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
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