Paving the Way for a Change in Career

It’s a tough gig to be a full-time working parent, let alone a working single parent. However, it’s not so bad if you enjoy the challenge of balancing work and family and love what you do. But for those who don’t feel that their job is personally nor financially rewarding, working full-time outside of the home can be a highly demanding and stressful situation.

Why do we juggle family with a full-time job?

Most of us choose to work full-time for financial reasons. As the sole income earner, most single parents depend on their job for their family’s survival.
Whether or not we like our jobs, we work for financial self-sufficiency, self confidence, personal growth opportunities or to gain work experience.

Do you enjoy what you do?

Because of the immediate financial need, single parents tend to settle for any job that can satisfy their basic necessities. They often don’t have the luxury of time or opportunities to choose the jobs that will lead us in the right career path. So, if you find yourself aimlessly jumping from one job to the next, you may want to consider assessing your skills and your interest and find out what you ultimate feel you will enjoy doing 8 hours of your day.
If you find yourself disengaged and less passionate about what you are doing, then perhaps it’s time to carve out a new path. Staying in a less than desirable job situation for any length of time can negatively impact your self-esteem, make you unhappy, create more stress in the home, and deny yourself of opportunities to utilize your skills and talent.

How can we change careers?

It’s never too late to shift gears and change careers, but it may undoubtedly be tougher to do it if you’re supporting a family. You must consider the cost and the time investment involved. There will be some sacrifices to make and a rearranging of priorities. But, if you have the determination, you can make it happen.

A few suggestions when considering a change in career:

It’s never too late to shift gears and change careers, but it may undoubtedly be tougher to do it if you’re supporting a family.

1. Research your “ideal job”: find out what certifications or courses are required for the occupation you choose, the schools that offer the program, the length and the cost of the program.

2. Find a program and school that fits your schedule: Seek out post secondary schools that offer night courses or distance education

3. Get the financial support: Apply for bursaries or non repayable grants to finance your education. You can get a list from the Financial Aid and Awards office. You can also contact your local municipal government, associations and organizations for bursaries. If you plan on advancing your career with your current employer, find out if they would pay for your courses.

4. Keep your workload manageable: Take only one or two courses per semester so you are not demanding drastic changes in the family schedule.

5. Create a support system: Have your family or friends support you by providing free child care or house cleaning services for times when you can’t fulfill your domestic duties.

6. Create a weekly chart to prioritize family needs: Ensure to allocate time for children’s needs first, your current job and your studies. Your social activities will be the one area you can expect to cut from your list of priorities.

Acquiring education relevant to your chosen occupation is the first step in transitioning from one career path to the next. You may start at a higher salary than what you were paid before or you may have to start at the entry level again, but you will be happier in the long term.

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre is a writer of parenting articles and was a single parent for 20 years to two sons now in their late 20's. She had a column in 3 newspapers and this blog is a curation of old and new stories around the challenges of single parenting and ideas on how to make life easier.