Trying to find meaningful work after having kids? Life is too short to hate your job or ignore your dreams. Here are 9 important keys to finding your dream career.
Hi! I’m excited to share this guest post with you today from Ponny Lam, a Purpose Coach and Career Educator. Enjoy!
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Rediscovering meaningful work as a mom
Becoming a mom is a life-transforming experience; for those who chose this path of parenthood, it’s a watershed of a woman’s life – and her path to maturity and personal power.
We used to find pleasures in little details in life and in beautiful things we own.
We used to travel so much that one passport is not enough to contain all the stamps.
We used to idealise our marriage lives and have faith that we’ll live happily ever after. Even so, no one said there won’t be life lessons now and then for us to grow!
Now there is a tiny human being who almost cannot survive without you around.
With that identify shift, our priorities differ.
Changing identities, changing priorities
Maybe you were the kind of woman who has always been very career-driven, but since your child was born, your world, and your worldviews have gone through a shapeshift!
You are still ambitious and want to achieve more in life – yet getting ahead and being recognized in the corporate world cannot satisfy you anymore. Your definition of success has now been expanded – you want to thrive in ALL aspects of life, because life satisfaction is integral to how happy you are with your family, career, finances, and personal and social lives.
The version of you today understands that trading time and effort for cash, although it worked when we were younger, is no longer a smart strategy. You become picky in what work to take; Because the work you do have to be meaningful and worthwhile enough, so that sacrificing your time to be with your precious child is worth it, or at least well-compensated emotionally, financially and practically for it.
Sounds like you? Read on.
Meaningful work for moms
Now what? You might wonder, “I need the cash to feed the extra mouth, yet I’m less flexible in terms of the choice of work I could take, cos’ I’ve subscribed to an unpaid childcare job called motherhood!”
To pursue time and location flexibility, many moms start online gigs, get trained to be a consultant/coach, or maybe enroll in network marketing as their new career. Not everyone can make it as their full-time income in a short while, but these can be a good supplement of income for stay-at-home moms.
Note from Suchot: Check out my post on 10 Blunt Truths about Network Marketing
What should I start then, you may wonder?
Meaningful work, by definition
First, let’s define what meaningful work means to you:
Do the main tasks at work excite you, or at least feel easy to you? Does the role allow you to express your passion, gifts and skills? What are you good at doing that strengthens you when you use it?
People that you interact with:
Are your clients, supervisors and colleagues reasonable and uplifting? Do you have confidence in building a positive relationship with these people?
Work style match:
Do the culture and work style allow you to work the way you prefer e.g. flextime?
Values and priorities:
Is the company/work that you do in alignment with what you believe is important and meaningful to you, and meaningful to the world? E.g. environmentally-friendly/cruelty-free production.
From my experience working with women from different age groups, it’s actually easier to identify meaningful work as a mom than when we were in our teens – because it takes a lot of self-understanding to know our values, and how to bring joy to our work. After living more life, we take the responsibility of our lives in our own hands, and add a layer of realness to the idealistic impression of what meaningful work means to us. Plus, our new time constraints and responsibilities activate more creativity in us to make things happen!
A 9-step exercise to find meaningful work for moms
If you are looking to rediscover meaningful work after having kids, here’s a quick exercise to get you started:
1. Use your intuition.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and ask yourself, “What would it take to make my work work for me?”, and see where your intuition is guiding you.
2. Brain dump about what meaningful work is to you.
Get a few pieces of paper to do a brain dump with the questions above in the 4 major areas: job nature, people that you interact with, work style match, and values and priorities. Don’t judge your answers; just write them all down.
3. Look for commonalities.
Look at your answers – what are the common themes or keyphrases between your answers?
4. Identify your must-haves.
Identify your top 5 “must-haves” in your next job; all the rest become a nice-to-have at this point in life.
5. Use affirmations.
Put your hands on your heart, look into the mirror and speak to yourself, “It’s my time, and I’m ready for the next step!”
6. Narrow down your list.
Then narrow down the career options from the top 5 by eliminating jobs that don’t feel right, and brainstorm for possible career options.
7. Look at your finances.
If you are keen to start your own business or freelance practice in the long term, how comfortable are you financially to spend 6-9 months building your practice with the risk of no income? If not, what options are better for you in the short term then?
8. Look at yourself.
Ask yourself, on an identity level, “Who do I need to BECOME so I can find meaningful work as a mom?”
9. Take steps.
Start planning your way to become the person you wish to become!
All real changes start with an intentional identity shift. Finding meaningful work all comes down to knowing what you can contribute to the world that is meaningful to you and to others, and then making an effort and using creative problem solving to bring that to life!
Suchot’s note: If you’re ready to apply to jobs, you have to check out Jobscan – it is awesome!! You just paste or upload your resume, and the job description you’re applying for. It automatically tells you if your resume would get noticed. Plus it will give you tips on how to improve your resume for the job description you’re applying for. It’s super helpful!!
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Share in the comments what is your idea of meaningful work?