One of the challenges for many women when they have kids is the impact on their careers. Moms are more likely than dads to take extra time off work, whether it’s a few weeks of maternity leave, a few years off to stay home with the kids, or just occasional sick time when the kids are too sick to go to school or daycare. All this can make working at home a very appealing option. But is this a good career choice overall? That depends on a few factors.
What Are You Doing?
What kind of work you do from home as compared to your current career has a lot to do with how good it will be for your future career. If you’re doing something entirely unrelated, it’s not really going to help you with that original career. If it can lead to a better career, that’s not a bad thing. If it’s a step or so down from where you’ve been working, you probably won’t be able to step back up to that original career path right away.
If you want to stick with your current career, make sure your work at home position goes well with it. You may be able to do more of a telecommuting position with your current employer if you’re fortunate enough to have that kind of flexibility available. You may still find working at home to be a disadvantage in some ways due to the lack of visibility when you aren’t at the office, but odds are you’ll be better off than if you had left entirely.
If you can’t continue in your current position, but hope to stay with the same general career in the long run, look for options that will allow you to go in that direction.
How Are You Keeping Up With the Industry?
If you had a good career before you started working at home, how are you keeping up with the changes in that industry, especially if you can’t work exactly in that field?
The time you spend at home can be great for improving your education for your preferred career. It may even be a good time to work toward making a change of career by getting an education for what you’d like to do when you return to the job market.
You have to be careful about where you get your education, of course. Some online schools are good; others are completely useless. Online classes are easier to deal with when you have small children, but make sure they’re the right choice. It may be wiser to attend classes in person if you get a better quality education that way. Know what will work for you and your needs.
Will Your Experience Take You Somewhere Entirely New?
Especially if you haven’t had much of what you’d consider your choice of career, working at home can take you someplace entirely new. That’s how it was for me. I went from being an at home medical transcriptionist to running my own business, and realizing it could stay this way. I like that a lot.
If you’re ready to take advantage of new opportunities, they may show up unexpectedly. A work at home job you’ve taken just for the income may open other doors.
What If You Don’t Like the Path Working at Home Takes You On?
Working at home won’t always take you on a path that’s good for your career. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the trouble. It can be. When you need the income, and working at home becomes the most sensible way to get it, that’s what you have to do.
Keep your eyes open for ways to get back on the path you’d rather be on. It may not be easy, matter of fact, it often won’t be. Still, continuing to work should be more beneficial than having a big gap in your resume. It will take time to get your career on track if you weren’t able to do so from home. Odds are, working from home will at least look better than not working at all for the years you spend at home.