Balancing Parenting and the Job Search
For parents who work outside the home, balancing commitments to family and commitments to an employer is an ever-present challenge. What comes first, your responsibility as a parent, or your responsibility to your employer that helps you bring in an income to provide for your family? To make matters more difficult, how do you balance all this when you are job searching?
The job search is a full-time job. While you are conducting a thorough job search or working, it is inevitable that as a parent, you will have competing priorities. Your heart tells you that your sweet, messy, loving, chaotic, and perfect little people at home are your highest priority, and don’t for a second forget about the love of your life, your spouse. Meanwhile, much like work, the job search beckons, you take conference calls that suck your energy, you attend meetings that take you away, you make sacrifices left and right. Particularly when unemployed, there may be an expectation to be a full-time care provider, because you’re not doing anything else, right? When guilt sets in that you are not giving 110% in both areas, it is easy to feel defeated and incapable. These feelings work against everything we yearn for.
How do we perfect this main circus event in life known as a balancing act? How do we ensure that we are giving our all to our career AND family, without draining ourselves? When you find the exact formula…please share it! In the meantime, scheduling and preparation can be our best friends.
We have to remind ourselves as professionals, parents, spouses, children, and friends that we can’t do everything, we are only human. That can be a hard pill to swallow on a daily basis. However, there are some powerful steps that we can take to ensure that we are prioritizing our family AND our active job search. You work hard, you want to do well, you love your family more than anything, so let’s empower ourselves!
SCHEDULE YOUR JOB SEARCH HOURS
As easy as it is to push aside your job search because you feel let down or possibly have no idea where to start, it is also just as easy to immerse yourself so deeply that you stare at the computer screen 24/7 waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump out. Schedule the hours ahead of time that you plan to devote to your job search each week so that you are putting in the needed time, but you are balancing this responsibility with being a positive presence for your family. This time is to be devoted to your job search, don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked by playing a video game or watching the same TV episode you have watched 20 times. We are in control of how we spend this time. Let’s make the most of it.
SCHEDULE UNINTERRUPTED FAMILY TIME
How do we make family time a priority instead of being the first thing to go when life gets busy? We plan it just like we plan a meeting during our workday or completing an application during our job search hours. When you schedule time to take your family to the park, that time is to enjoy each other. Don’t spend that time sitting on your phone looking at job salaries or job descriptions, you have plenty of time for that during your scheduled job search time. Schedule time for your family and don’t miss or cancel that appointment. You are in control to say no if you are asked to work an extra shift or volunteer for a charity. You may WANT to be able to follow through to help others but saying no sometimes means you choose your family first.
PREPARE A LIST OF JOB TITLES YOU ARE SEEKING
Knowing where your focus lies allows you to maximize the time you are investing in your job search. Make a list of the job titles you are pursuing so that your time is spent being purposeful, not randomly clicking around on the internet.
PREPARE A LIST OF COMPANIES YOU ARE TARGETTING
There are tons of jobs out there, but which job is right for you? What should you spend your time pursuing? Which companies and industries are you most interested in? Make a list of those top 20 companies and really dive deep into how they hire and what they hire for. Maybe the job board you regularly check out doesn’t advertise jobs for your ideal companies, but their LinkedIn page and company website may. Conduct an internet search about the company to learn more about them and find out how they hire. Do they hire internally, or do you need to reach out to the third-party recruiting firm that they use? When you use your time to purposefully apply to jobs with companies that you are interested in, it may take a considerable amount of time to apply, research, and interview, but the intentional effort will set you up for success down the road. Make that time count in obtaining what matters most.