When you’re a new mum who’s just finished maternity leave, or a busy dad heading back to work after a new arrival, your career is likely to be the last thing on your mind. After all, in a whirl of nappy changing and feeding times, it’s easy to lose focus when it comes to getting your career back on track. But there’s no time like the present when thinking about work, and investing in your career now will pay dividends as your baby grows up. Here are some ways to manage a career switch even while you have a new little one at home.
If you’re planning to move into a practical job – such as working as a chef, or in the construction industry – then it’s likely you’ll need some training. Unless you already have significant work experience in your chosen field (perhaps from doing some freelance work in it, or from running your own business) then you’re likely to be overlooked when applying for jobs, as you simply won’t have the same credentials as the other applicants. Studying at a further education college is a good way to get the training you need, and there’s a college in almost every local area. And if you need to take the baby along, many have creches or on-site childminders, so there’s no need to worry about that either.
For some jobs, though, the only real way to advance is to study for qualifications – which can open doors to a new career. Unlike training schemes, which almost always require you to show up at a physical location, you can now often study for workplace qualifications online – which is a real bonus if you need to fit this around childcare! Online education is often just as prestigious as in-person learning: LSBF offers accountancy qualifications that are used by members of the “Big Four”, while many other providers also have links with big-name employers.
However, as anyone who is a parent will know, the real challenge lies not in making strategic career choices but in balancing your newborn and your job. The coming years are likely to be full of all sorts of household excitement, but there’ll also be a fair few tired mornings as your baby gets to grips with sleeping – not to mention a host of additional costs for the family budget. Carving out time to re-train and focus on your career will require a bit of mental discipline, and you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of energy and commitment to juggle the two competing pressures.
Looking after a baby is in many ways a full-time job in itself, and it often feels like there’s no room to focus on your own career once you have a newborn in the home. But that doesn’t have to be the case, and there’s often a range of steps you can take to enhance your career even when you’re a new parent. From studying for a new professional qualification to re-training if you plan to enter a more practical sector, there are lots of opportunities available.
Did you switch careers when you became a parent? I would love to hear about it.