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Work from home and parenting didn’t fit in my job. At least, I didn’t see it. I wanted to make a complete 180 change of direction in my life after I had Terin. I thought I wanted to be the “gold watch” employee. But, Terin changed everything. 😉
After having Terin, I decided I wanted to telecommute because I thought I’d be happier. Having just delivered our daughter and feeling a monumental heart shift in my priorities, I had to make a change that would improve my overall happiness. Being able to work from home part time and take care of my daughter would be the ideal fit for me.
Since we were saving over 50% of our income, we could afford it if could work from home for 20 hours per week. It was demanding and required frequent travel all over the western United States. As a full-time communications employee, I earned about $22 per hour (gross). I still wanted to reach our goal, but I wanted to do it while being a full-time mom.
After my maternity leave was over, I had an honest, open conversation with my boss. I said that while I loved aspects of my job, I couldn’t continue to give it 100% without it affecting my home life. I would need to quit unless she could offer a part-time job. She did, and I am grateful. We can continue to reach for our goals while I mostly get to stay home.
I have dreamed of being able to work from home since my dad did it while growing up. He had ample time with my mom and earned great wages for our area.
If you’re reading this and wanting to work from home, I totally understand why. It’s a great opportunity and worth working toward even if it isn’t achieved immediately. Here’s what I did to make it happen:
I picked a career that could allow me to work from home.
Some jobs are naturally a better fit for work-from-home life than others are. I couldn’t likely convince my boss to work from home if I was a lifeguard. Just saying. 😉 As a writer or accountant, that would be a different conversation. My business degree was very useful in that regard. It was open-ended enough to give flexibility in my career. I developed my writing and computer skills knowing that those jobs could give me that freedom.
There are often affordable courses for bookkeeping and computer skills that can be work from home opportunities. Often the more PITA a job is, the higher the pay. If you happen to like work that others find challenging, then that’s something to look at further. You have more bargaining power if you’re willing to do what others aren’t.
Some roles that fit nicely with working from home include:
- Administrative assistant
- Bookkeeping / accountant
- Writer / editor
- Web developer
- Customer service representative
- Public relations specialist
- Caretaker – daycare or for the elderly
- Mortgage loan originator
Having some skills in jobs that allow working from home can help make switching easier. If you don’t have the skills right now, the local library has tons of free, frugal job training and placement resources that may help you.
I researched businesses in my area that supported work from home.
In my rural area, few jobs pay more than $40,000 yearly. Even fewer offer telecommuting. I had to do a little bit of detective work to find out where the best jobs were in my area.
I didn’t want to work for a manager who discounted productivity in preference to employees having their butts glued to a stiff chair in a small cubicle. Rather than try to change that thinking, it was easier to work with managers in companies who are open minded from the beginning. In my area, working for government offered the highest pay and flexibility for my skill set. You might find that smaller companies with informal policies are easier than bigger companies are. Yet, some bigger companies compete for employees by offering flexible working hours. There’s no standard formula. Your research will tell you what you can do.
I asked my boss if I could work from home.
I spent a year and 8 months working in office in my public relations position before transitioning to working remotely. My boss didn’t guarantee remote work. That’s where luck and prayer came into play. In my 20-month vetting process, I wanted to prove to her that I could be reliable, consistent, accountable and timely with my work. She commented on my performance review that she liked that she didn’t have to worry about me finishing my projects. I helped reduced her stress. She was willing to gamble that I’d be a reliable remote employee. I’m grateful for that.
In my new work from home role, my hourly rate stayed the same. For every hour I work, we pay $4/hour in daycare costs. All of my income from this job and some of Nick’s go to the mortgage debt. It would be less affordable if we had multiple kids or if Nick less than he makes now as an engineer.
There might be some opportunities in your current role depending on your relationship with your manager and how much power they have to allow remote work. It’s at the very least worth investigating.