Help A Reader: Having A Baby And Looking For A Job Change

A question from one of our most loyal Money Crashers fans!

I have a question for you concerning searching for a job. I found out that I will not be able to keep my current job after we have the baby. I am not willing to work full time, and they are unwilling to let me work part-time. My question is two-fold. Do you have any recommendations for searching for a part-time job (preferably work from home)? Also, if I want to start the job in June, when is a good time to start looking?

I know there are many other women in your position, and while being a mother is definitely a full-time job, many families are having a hard time living on one income. The first thing you need to do is answer this question: “Do I want to work towards a career that I love, or do I want to make extra money while I am raising kids?”

How you answer that question determines how I would answer your original question. So, if you are looking for a career change, then this is the route that I would take:

  1. Write down 5 to 10 different things you really enjoy doing, like a hobby or activity that you find yourself spending a lot of time or thinking about when you aren’t working.
  2. Then, write down 3 different ways you could turn that activity or hobby into a way to make money.
  3. Circle the top three of those ideas and start researching the costs, resources, and supplies you would need to turn that into a side business. Pick ideas with low start-up costs and offer flexibility.

You have about 5 months to do the research and planning it would take to start a side business doing something that you really enjoy. People get scared of the idea of actually starting a business or they think it’s too hard, but if you get serious about an idea and do some planning for it, you can easily start making part-time income in the first few months.

If you just want to make some extra money and you don’t care what you are doing to make it, then here are a few suggestions:

  • Do consulting. Whatever your current job is, research to see if there is a market for consulting or independent work. Many companies can save money by paying a consultant to do part-time work for an hourly fee, rather than hiring on a new employee that they will provide benefits and salary to.
  • Become a virtual assistant. A lot of small businesses are outsourcing their personal assistants and secretaries to virtual assistants. This is a legitimate work-at-home job, and it typically has flexible hours.
  • Become a nanny. Instead of going to them, have them come to you. Seek out one or two working mothers who need child care, and ask to provide day care for their child while you take care of your own baby. You could easily charge $600 per month for each baby. Obviously, you would not be able to take on more than one or two, because you don’t want to become a full-fledged day care. There are a lot of legal issues that go along with that.

To answer your last question, I would take the entire fall narrowing down what you want to look for or develop as a side business, and then hit the trail hard starting January 2nd, 2010. I have found through personal experience that many companies are pre-occupied with the holidays, rather than looking to hire new employees. But, my suggestion is to develop a side business that you can run out of your home with little start-up cost.

Readers, please comment below with your suggestions and ideas to help her out!

  • Elizabeth I

    In this economy, you need to be very realistic about what you want to do and what you must do. I would suggest figuring what you are going to pay in taxes for this year. Remember that you now have another dependent and you will qualify for a child tax credit. This should reduce your taxes and this may affect what you want to do vs. what you must do.

    Next question, is the part time job for a financial benefit or for you to get out of the house? If you are working part-time and need to pay for child care, after taxes, you may only make $5 an hour. Thus, it may not offer the financial perks you are hoping for. If finances are a huge issue you may have to work full time, because a part time job may not exist.

    All this being said, I would start looking for a full time job and a part time job immediately. If you cannot find a part time job, and need to work, you will be grateful that you have started your search for a full time job. If you do find a full time job, if they like you, you may be able to negotiate working less than 40 hours a week.