How Your Strengths Can Help You Shine When Pursuing Your Career AspirationsDecember 26, 2022
New Year, New Career Coaching Practice for You?January 25, 2023
Parenthood is such a huge topic in career development that doesn’t get enough attention. For me, a career is a vehicle to live the kind of life that you want, so when one of my clients is a parent or wants to be a parent, I ask them, “What kind of parent do you want to be? How do you want your child to be raised?” This helps us to focus on a job or career that supports one of the most important roles that human beings have on this planet, to foster the next generation.
This goes beyond a financial decision. The finances come after you are as clear as you can be about your why and how of parenting. Why do you want to be a parent and how do you want parenting to show up in your life?
There is no right answer or best way to do this. As I mentioned in the last blog, stay-at-home parenting is merely one option and isn’t for everyone. However, parenting is such a big endeavor that I want people to put thought into it before we get to the decision of what kind of job do you want.
How would I address this with our Opportunity Knock$ families? Let’s take a look!
Let’s start with Fiona and James. I know that Louis is focusing on how to afford fertility treatments and what they can do to increase their income. Parenthood is obviously so important to this family, but I want to know more about the why and how. However, I like that Louis is suggesting to monetize their creative impulses, which sounds like the possibility of starting a business. Exciting! This can be a great way to create flexibility as a family: one partner has a steady job with health benefits (and summers off in James’ case. Always a plus!) while the other can create income generation that can support either a stay-at-home or daycare (or mixed) parenting style. I would recommend that they think through the first five years of their child’s life to determine how they want to spend their pre-K time and then build a career or business designed to support that vision.
Next, Michelle is in a different position. She already has kids who are in school and so that would help me to focus on what she wants to change in her current situation. I love, love, love that Patrice is asking if her work brings her joy and what her dream job is! As Patrice says, we can develop the mindset “This is what I want to do, now what do I need to get there?” Sometimes the journey it would take is impractical, so that’s when you make adjustments. However, I make sure my clients do the research before they make that decision. This is exactly what Patrice asked Michelle to do. You start with the dream, you explore what it would take to make that happen, and then decide what you want to do. Pragmatic idealism is the cornerstone of the work I do with my clients.
The next family is mine! I appreciate that Jean starts with their lives and their history, so that the financial advice is grounded in who they are. However, I wanted to know more about Juliette’s reason for getting into social work and why she ended up in the school system. I explore this a little when I work with Juliette (coming soon!) because the “why” of a career decision helps us to explore job options that a person is excited about, which is crucial when transitioning. The status quo is always so much easier than change, so hooking into your passion provides the motivation to overcome entropy.
Again, I want to know how Hannah and Juliette want to parent their current child and future family. Hannah is clear about wanting to be a public school teacher, which can be a great fit once their children are in school. But what about before that time? The fact that Hannah already has a business is interesting to me, since that could be researched and marketed differently in order to generate income (Note: a good idea is no guarantee of revenue!) It’s all about the marketing. But a savvy business woman can profit well from good ideas. This is something that Juliette could do while working from home while Hannah’s working. This isn’t the path that Juliette decides to take for various reasons, but this is the kind of creative solutions you can come up with once you are clear about what’s most important to you.
I love this episode of Opportunity Knock$! I’ve learned more about Juliette and Hannah (I only worked with Juliette during my time on the show) but I also appreciate the opportunity to shine a light on something that isn’t generally talked about holistically. American society is so dysfunctional when it comes to child-rearing. Parenthood is unnecessarily gendered and often falls solely on the mom, not just the childcare, but also the decision about if the family is going to be one or two income (unless the decision is already made by life circumstances). Careers and parenthood are intimately intertwined and need to be discussed as a family so that career decisions support the ultimate goals of financial stability, child care, and a meaningful, joyful life.
This is why I created Be the Change Career Consulting and My Career Design Studio. I hope that more and more families talk about their personal and collective goals so they can design a future that is bright and a perfect fit for them.