February 19, 2020

It’s not just a job change…it’s a family upheaval

Serially changing jobs in your 20s is expected and younger workers, who are often single and childless, hop to the best offer at will.

But what happens when you are looking for new challenges later in your career? How do you manage when you are carrying your family on a health plan? What do you do when you have kid pick-up and drop-off routines perfectly orchestrated and have arranged to leave early on Tuesdays to take your kid to practice?

The economy is on an upswing, and that means companies are hiring at all levels. Mid-level managers, who are often parents, may find themselves suddenly in demand. A job change can sound appealing, but it will have a ripple effect on your spouse and kids.

“The best way to get your family onboard is to explain why this change is so important to you,” said Lolly Daskal, a leadership development coach who recently published a blog on the topic for FastCompany.com. She also offers advice about assessing the financial risks of a post-30s career change, including changes to health benefits and retirement savings.

What about Gainesville working parents? Here is some insight into one family who recently finished a job transition when Mom made a switch.

Janice Kaplan is a content marketing specialist who just joined the team at James Moore & Co., a local CPA firm. Prior to that she worked at a local tech company in a similar role. She and her husband Kevin are parents to Danny (16) and Erin (12). Kevin works for Florida Farm Bureau.

“My previous job was very flexible in allowing me to work around the needs of my kids and my household,” Janice said. “It was important to me that I find a job with similar flexibility. The environment at James Moore & Co. is really friendly to parents. As with my previous employer, they understand that life happens and employees work best when they’re able to accommodate that.”

As a result of Janice’s job change, both Kevin and the kids have had to adapt. “I have a slight increase in the number of hours I work each week, so there have been minor adjustments,” Janice said. “There’s less time to get things done around the house, so the kids are pitching in a little more – although they’ve always been good about that. I’m also no longer the primary parent to pick up sick kids and attend to appointments; my husband and I now split that more equally.”

Janice indicates that her overall happiness has increased and that fact changed the dynamic of the household in a positive way.

“For me, being a working parent isn’t just about having a job that gives me a paycheck and flexibility; it’s about being fulfilled professionally as well,” Janice said. “And when I’m more satisfied with my work, I’m a happier person – which in turn makes me a better wife and mother. The responsibilities for this job were exactly what I was looking for – a great fit for my experience, but also an opportunity to strengthen my abilities and be challenged in my field.”

The job search itself may be the hardest part. Janice realizes that younger kids might not understand the process, but her older kids were actually a support system during her search. “That was really important during the more discouraging times; the kids became my cheerleaders, always encouraging and supporting me,” she said. “When I told them I had gotten a new job, they were really happy for me. My daughter even baked a celebratory batch of peanut butter cookies for me as a surprise!”

The process of finding the right fit was long and sometimes difficult. Janice is glad she did it, though and encourages other working parents who may be ripe for change to get out there and find the right fit for them.

“Don’t feel guilty if a better job for you will mean some changes for others in the household,” she said. “You don’t want to short-change your family’s needs, of course. But your happiness counts, too. And if finding a new job will bring you more satisfaction, then work together with your family to help you make that change.”

Here are a few more resources for working parents considering a job change:

A recent post on Budgetdirect.com called Effects Of Changing Jobs – How It Changes Your Life

discusses how a career change impacts your immediate family – financially and emotionally. For instance, will your tax bracket change? Does your new career offer greater income stability, or less? How does it affect your insurance coverage, your debt load and your housing situation?

If you are considering a change, the best approach is to compare apples to apples as best you can and use that information to help make your decision. BusinessInisder.com offers some practical financial tips, including comparing health insurance plans, what to do with your 401k and how to adjust your budget up or down based on your new compensation.

 

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