Guest blogger Kimberly Palmer shows The Grindstone readers how to get more flexibility with tips from her new book, Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family.
A flexible work schedule can mean the difference between feeling like you can stay in a job, knowing you can maintain your sanity while climbing the career ladder, versus wanting to walk away from it all. Many of the working moms I interviewed said the only reason they can stay committed to their jobs is because those jobs don’t prevent them from staying home when their child gets sick or attending the occasional daytime school event. So how do you get this much-sought after flexibility without mommy-tracking yourself? Here are three ideas:
1. Choose the right employer. So much of our day-to-day stress can come from the environment we work in. If we’re at a firm that expects 10 hours of face time a day, no exceptions, then we’re likely feel immense amounts of stress when our schedules also call for us to attend a later afternoon soccer game or a pediatrician’s well-visit. Asking current employees before accepting a job can offer insight into the kind of expectations we’re walking into.
2. Negotiate your schedule along with your salary. After you nail down the salary negotiations, the next sentence should be about scheduling expectations. Before you actually sign on the dotted line and accept a job, you still have the power to ask for what you want because your potential employer knows you can still walk away. Whether it’s working from home one day a week or leaving every day by 5pm, make sure you ask for the schedule that will help you manage all of your responsibilities.
3. Refuse to feel guilty. Once you’ve established your schedule with your boss, then there’s no need to feel badly about walking out past coworkers at 5pm, or letting them know you’re working from home one day. It’s just the way it is, and if your schedule provokes envy, then you might just inspire others to negotiate a better deal for themselves, changing the workplace culture in the process. And that would be a win for everybody.
Kimberly Palmer is the author of the new book, Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family.” You can connect with her at kimberly-palmer.com.