4 Factors Job Seeking Parents Should Keep in Mind

Job-seeking parents need to consider more than just pay and advancement opportunities when considering career opportunities. Here are 4 less obvious factors to keep in mind.

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When considering a potential job offer, we are often acutely aware of such factors as pay, opportunities for advancement and benefits like health insurance. These are important, but sometimes the less-obvious features of a job/employer can be the difference between a difficult situation and a job situation that suits you and your family.

When assessing jobs and employers, be sure to consider the following:

Time Demands

Sometimes that same job in two different companies can have very different time demands. Accountants working at an internationally-known accounting firm, for example, often work very long days and are under intense time pressures to meet client demands. A similar in-house accounting position, requiring the same qualifications and providing largely the same pay/benefits is far more likely to have more reasonable time demands.

Doing some comparative research on industries, sectors (for-profit, nfp, private, public) and employers may reveal that similar jobs may come with different work cultures and time demands. It may be worthwhile to explore positions at various types of employers, as time benefits may be worth more to you than higher pay.

Time/Place Flexibility

Different employers have different attitudes toward telework and other flexible work options. Some employers want all their employees at the office all the time. However, many companies understand that not all of their employees’ work requires being together at the workplace and have begun to embrace part-time telecommuting.

With part-time telecommuting, employees can work 1/4 to 1/3 of their work hours from home. Research shows that telework is increasingly common and results in no changes to work performance, but that it is a great way to attract and retain in-demand employees, especially those with family demands.

Obviously, being able to work from home one or two days a week, or the ability to flex one’s hours in order to be home for the kids after school- but making up the work later that night from the computer- makes work-family balance a lot easier to achieve. Be sure to ask about flexible work options at the end of a job interview.

Commuting Length

Commuting takes up two of your most valuable resources- time and money. If you choose an employer an easy 10 minute drive from your home, as opposed to a similar job requiring a short drive and then a 40 minute train ride, you can save up to two hours a day. Mass transit is increasingly expensive, and the price of gas and tolls is always on the rise.

Other hidden benefits of a short commute are: reducing the need for before or after-school child care, being more able to run errands or attend to home duties in emergency situations, and producing fewer greenhouse gases. Even if the local job pays less, you’ll make it up in extra time for family and extra convenience.

Employee Experiences

The internet is a wonderful thing for gaining information about a potential employer. Websites such as Glassdoor.com provide anonymous information about employers from current and former employees.

On the social media side, Google and Linkedin can be helpful in finding information. Finally, especially for large employers, Fortune, Working Mother, Fast Company and other trade and business magazines often rank and have information about employers with good reputations.

By paying attention to these under-the-radar factors, you will be more likely to apply for, find work at, and enjoy better work-family balance at your new place of work.

Here’s one example, excepted from a comment left on a related FWF article (thank you blog reader Carol!):

I would suggest that the trend of men getting more comfortable in asking for, and accepting! – flexible work options is a really important part of the conversation regarding work-life balance. If I may, I will use my own family experience to illustrate. About a year ago, my husband changed from a very rigid, demanding work schedule with a daily 3 hour commute to a job that is 20 minutes from our house and allows for flexibility in his schedule.

He is happier, more engaged, and able to be involved in the day to day activities with our children more frequently. I feel less overwhelmed, more like we are partners in raising our family and taking care of our home, and have been able to make some wonderful strides in my career.
Finally, our children are completely secure in the knowledge that they are a priority to both of us. The more this is presented as a “family issue”, the better off our families will all be!

What do you think about these “hidden” workplace considerations? Any experiences to share. Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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I originally wrote this article (except for the comment at the end) for Wisecareers.com, a unit of Western Governors University. See here for the original.

4 thoughts on “4 Factors Job Seeking Parents Should Keep in Mind

  1. Sensible things to look for. Our family also looked how much sick leave was available, and whether it could be used to care for family members; attitudes towards sharing care of children. More specifically because of our circumstances when hubby last went job hunting this year due to the prior company going in receivership 🙁 when I was 4 months pregnant – hubby asked about what leave the company would assist with when bubba arrived. I really encourage having an open discussion about it at interview because if they aren’t supportive then why work there?
    Hubby also listened to stories of other people’s interviews/experiences and one company clearly had a very sexist manager, really glad he decided against that company for that and other reasons.

    • You and your husband were smart to consider these factors. Too many people forget to consider sick days and supervisor attitudes. Of course, one also needs employment options to be able to pick and choose.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment.

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