How To Stay Professionally Relevant While Being A Full Time Parent
To parents, raising children is one of the most important and challenging endeavors in life. However, for those who choose to stay at home to raise their children this endeavor may go from a full-time to a part-time responsibility. Many parents prefer to stay home due to increasing costs of childcare and school shootings.
Many parents decide to return to the workforce once their children attend primary school or finally leave the nest and will need to have a certain amount of professionally relevant experience and knowledge to be a marketable employee.
Here are some ways to stay professionally marketable while being a full time parent.
Maintain Discipline & Avoid Being A Martyr
A parent must realize that there is a high probability that they will be forced to go back to work eventually for a number of reasons: divorce, financial crisis, emotional needs, and so forth. Be aware of the importance maintain and develop professional marketability even if there is no current need to go back to work. Even if you’re engaging in one professional endeavor once a month, you’re still making a difference in your own career development.
For the sake of your marriage and/or familial relationships, avoid taking the role of the martyr at all costs. The tried and true argument of having to “give it all up” for the family doesn’t have to persist anymore. There are a variety of time/energy/financially viable options for stay at home and part time parents to maintain a semblance of a career and personal self worth.
Don’t Take It Personally
Don’t be surprised or hurt when there are people who could care less that you’ve sacrificed your career for your kids. You will face less than compassionate professionals – usually those without children – who cannot relate to the challenges you face. Don’t bother by saying, “You’ll see someday…” or “If you had kids, you’d understand.”. Just don’t even go there. Embrace your own decision and make the choice to respect others’ lifestyle decisions while hoping they respect yours.
Take Care Of Yourself
Be sure to groom yourself and keep fit. Nobody says you have to look like a GQ or Vogue model, but you must demonstrate you care about your physical appearance. Maintain a health regime and keep up on your appearance as you mature dressing and grooming for your appropriate age. It doesn’t hurt to save up and purchase timeless, quality pieces of clothing to wear.
Get And Stay Involved In The Community
Whether you volunteer for your child’s school or local athletic association, get involved. Be sure to use the professional skills you currently have and develop the skills that you wish you had while volunteering. For example, if you were an accountant, volunteer to do bookkeeping on the board of directors.
If you wish to learn new skills, trade your time in exchange for a learning opportunity. Find organizations who are in need of elbow grease and knowledge to meet their goals. You can always add these experiences and your related accomplishments to your resume. Not to mention, you’ll garner a reputation for being a generous philanthropist.
Stay Current On Industry Trends
Even if you’re not actively transforming your industry, you can stay in the know about current trends and news. Subscribe to magazines or frequent websites that talk about your trade or industry. Visit trade shows or exhibits when possible.
If you’re a member of a professional organization, stay involved or subscribed and receive industry news as it happens.
Work Part Time, Consult, Or Develop A Hobby
If you can, work part time or consult when possible. Does a nearby college or organization need advice on a current project? Offer your ideas and give freely.
Develop a hobby with which you can use your skills. You might even be able to make some money while doing it.
Working part time can also give you the “adult time” you need. Potential employers will also see your involvement as not totally abandoning your work.
Get Some Schooling
You might not be able to enroll in community college part time, but you may be able to take a few night courses or weekend seminars to learn new skills or improve your existing skills. Look for continuing education opportunities in your trade journals, community classifieds, or nearby educational facilities.
Maintain Old & Develop New Professional Relationships
Don’t forget to stay in contact with old colleagues. If you can help them out at anytime, make it a point to do so. You never know when you’ll need their help or advice when getting back into the job market.
Think Like A Professional
It’s easy for parents to get emotionally carried away after spending so much time with their families. However, a family is indeed a business and requires leadership, focus, values, vision, discipline, communication skills, financial knowledge and management, and so forth. Approach managing your family affairs like a top notch professional without sacrificing your personal, loving touch to reach out to your family and community.
If you’ve found other passions, apply the preceding tips to developing your newly found passion.
Do you have additional ideas for staying professionally marketable? Share them now!
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