The Ultimate Balancing Act


by Jill Huggett, CPCC, CPRW

The goal: Kids are happy, Husband is happy, Mommy is happy.

The challenge: Accomplishing this simultaneously and consistently.

Needs change.  Preferences change.  The formula that worked last year, may not work this year.  Children change dramatically from infancy to adolescence.  The formula needs to keep evolving.

I experienced a change in my preference that I never thought would happen.  I had a good job in the financial services industry.  I commuted an hour each way and spent about 12 hours out of the house every day.  We had a wonderful nanny and the household duties I was responsible for were minimal.  When the kids were little, I was more than happy to hand them to the nanny so I could go the office and clear my head.  No matter how busy work was, it was less chaotic than a house of toddlers.  This arrangement worked well for everyone…until…

All of a sudden, when my kids were 8 and 6, I had a strong desire to stay home.  With that feeling came a lack of satisfaction at work.  I wasn’t where I really wanted to be…bringing my kids to their activities, getting them on the bus, and attending school concerts.  Wow, this was an about face for me.  But I knew I would never get this time with my kids back.

The answer sounds like it would be simple.  Quit my job and stay at home.  Problem was, our lifestyle was set up for two incomes.  When we bought our home, we agreed that both of us would always work.  We were both perfectly happy with that decision.  We didn’t plan for a change in our preferences.  I was now out of balance.  Mommy wasn’t happy.

Sounds like a real bind, right?  It was.  However, with careful thought, creativity and most importantly, a plan, one can accomplishment most anything.  I researched careers I could do with greater flexibility.  I also looked at a career that I would really love to do.  The answer was to start my own business as career coach and resume writer.  Starting your own business is hard work and your income can take a real hit while you are building it.  To minimize the damage, I waited for an opportunity to be laid off.  That gave me some time to get started while I was getting severance.  I also spent the previous couple of years paying down debt and getting our finances in good order.  Finally, I scoured our budget to reduce expenses.  Oh, and I stopped shopping so much!  With that planning, I was able to take a reduction in income while not really changing our lifestyle.

The key to good career management is planning ahead.  Most importantly, plan for things you don’t expect.  Whether your preferences change or your job is no longer secure, you can keep yourself in a position of strength if you think ahead and have answers to the what ifs.

About the Author

Jill Huggett

Jill Huggett, CPCC, CPRW is a certified professional career coach working with individuals and small businesses. Jill combines professional coaching theory with her experience as a management executive in the financial services industry into her practice. She utilizes assessment tools to identify personal attributes, establish goals, identify roadblocks and creates a personalized plan to achieve happiness in one’s career. Because of her many years in the corporate environment, Jill’s coaching style is realistic and practical. In addition to career coaching, she is a public speaker, thought leader and workshop facilitator. Click here to learn more about Jill and Bridgepath Career Advisors.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. http://www.whatsforwork.com

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Balancing Act

  1. Jill, thank you for being so candid about how balancing is about changing and adapting. Your needs and desires will change in life, and that can have a detrimental effect on finances if planning is not done properly. I appreciate that you shared your story that can help so many women faced with a similar dilemma.
    Teri

  2. It’s my pleasure to share my story. I’ve learned from many who shared their story and were generous with their experience. I’m happy to do the same for others. The key to getting the balance right is to think ahead, plan and reevaluate often. All the best ~Jill

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