For women, taking a career break may mean stepping back from work to take care of children. While making plans for a family means that a career break is not necessarily unexpected, that in no way diminishes the heightened sense of anxiety that up to 70% of women experience regarding this issue.
Additionally, stress is caused by the worry of not being able to return to the same kind of job or salary expectation later or finding their job under threat from a possible replacement. The prospect of loss of financial security can cause agitation that you simply don’t need at such a critical period of life. If you are running your own business, taking a career break comes with even more complications. Even with close family support in place, as a business owner, a break can put your business at risk when it comes to internal and financial management.
So, if a career break does happen, what can you do to minimise the impact, still generate income, and allay financial concerns?
Financial Tips for Career Breaks
Foresight helps. Thinking preventatively, you can make plans in advance when a career break is on the horizon. It’s expensive having children and being away from work. Depending on your income circumstances, you may need to consider how to modify the way you spend.
The first option is to plan ahead and start allocating monthly savings out of your salary. Setting up an automatic transfer on set dates or a direct deposit from an employer into a specific account means you don’t have to think about the task of manually saving.
Secondly, there may be opportunities to take on supplementary work at your current job. You can have any extra pay apply towards your parental leave package by ensuring you receive a written agreement from your employer stating such. Equally, you can save up holiday leave time (your spouse, too) so that you can both be home more during the parental period.
As an alternative for business owners, short-term loans are also an option. You could use the money to pay for help with your daily business operations to keep your business and revenue stream intact while taking care of your new family addition.
Create a Viable Budget
Considering changing your expenses is a key element to successful career break planning. One thing you can do if you’re expecting a child is to create a budget that includes expenses as if your baby is already here. As an example, heading back to work after your parental leave will mean childcare costs, so factor those in now within a dedicated budget savings plan.
And of course, there are child-related expenses to consider such as food, nappies, newborn health insurance, medical bills, and incidental cash for the fact that time and energy will go to the baby. Think about how your life patterns will change and factor that in when creating a new budget.
Another measure is to set up the automatic payment function for all your necessary bills. Busy new parents may forget about everything but the baby, and a surprise late bill notice is not something you want to deal with.
New Ways to Work
A great business insight for women is to consider a parental career break as an opportunity for a perspective change. Firstly, have a proper conversation with your employer (if you have one) to ascertain exactly what your options are. You may be able to bring your work responsibilities home with you and work flexible hours from there during your career break.
If not, there are many options to take advantage of remote working or freelance job opportunities. Online job boards and freelance websites offer an increasing diversity of options to suit differing skill sets, and the trend in Australia is emphatically increasing.
Beyond this, the remote tech-enabled working approach naturally means you can continue to employ and hone your professional skills as a consultant. Building up a home-based consultancy may turn out to be a stepping stone to a more secure financial future.
A parental-related career break doesn’t have to mean your professional and financial life are compromised. With plenty of judicious forethought and preparation, the suggestions offered here can help you plan effectively and even convert this incredibly important period of your life into a professional win-win while reducing stress and letting you focus on your changing needs and, of course, your family.
Behind Closed Doors reflects the goal to inspire and connect business and career women, providing valuable support and resources to empower their professional development. Through mentoring, networking, events, and other tools, we help women help other women, promoting a culture that both inspires and helps them gain more success and progress in life. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help you succeed.
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