How Flexible Are You?

If you are a professional mom that is feeling over or under-employed, you are not alone. In between the extremes of too little career and too much, is the panacea of the professional mother, a flexible career.

When it comes to balancing career, family and all the other parts of your life, the only way to make the math work in your favor is to find flexibility wherever you can. A flexible career can make everything else run more smoothly. More time for family allows you to be more productive at work. And success in the world of work can allow you to be a better mother, partner and friend.

One thing is certain, a flexible career probably won’t just happen to you; you’ll have to go out and create it. But whether you make a proposal for a flexible schedule to your existing boss, become an independent contractor or start your own business, there are ample examples of women successfully managing flexible careers for you to follow. Indeed, check out the Shop Online section of the Mommy Track’d Survival Guide for just a few examples of women that stepped back from their corporate careers to start their own successful online businesses.

If you are interested in injecting more flexibility into your professional life, the following models may offer some food for thought as you consider your options:

Telecommuting: Working from home doesn’t necessarily restructure work hours but can allow you to substitute dinner and bed time for drive time. The pitch is that work is something you do, not the place you do it.

Job Sharing: Here, two employees work as a team, sharing the responsibilities of one full-time or full time plus position, with the salary awarded on a pro-rata basis. In this scenario two heads are definitely better than one.

Part Time: In this scenario you work less than full time hours, are held responsible for less than full time billable hours or are assigned a lower sales quota and are paid a pro rata percentage of your full time salary.

Compressed Work Week or Work Year: In this scenario, you work longer days, but fewer of them. The classic example is working 40 hours in four, ten hour days. Alternates include taking every other Friday off or working four months of extended hours and then taking an entire month off.

Flexible Hours: The old 9-5 work day is essentially as arbitrary as the new 9-8 work day. If you want to be home when your kids arrive home from school, consider getting to the office early and leaving early. Or arrange to leave at 3pm and work 2 hours remotely in the evening.