Do you go to the office everyday? Do you stay at home with the kids? I’ve been working part time from home for years and I just read a book that was incredibly validating, informative and challenging all at once. I was researching about virtual assistants and discovered Shannon Miles’ recently released book, The Third Option and read it on my kindle in just a few days.
What I learned from this book is that there is both a massive opportunity for more moms to do what I do, and a better way for me to do it going forward. Companies like Shannon Miles’ Belay Solutions are helping solve the cost of entry problem for moms who want to take more control of their lives, in a way that provides income and professional fulfillment. For those who either aren’t ready to start a business, or perhaps don’t have a desire to, but are looking for a lifestyle change, Shannon lays out a viable third option.
It’s a path I’ve been walking for a long time but have by no means mastered. After 8 years of working from home I would tell you that it is a daily challenge. I continually renew my commitment to take on the dual challenges of staying at home and being a working mom, in order to have the income, and more time with my kids. I also constantly ask myself if there is a better way, and if I would still work if we paid off our student loans.
If you were to ask me if you should pursue making a move toward working part time from home, this is what I would tell you.
Know what you need. Know what you want out of life and why. I’ve read editorials on how working from home gives you the worst of both worlds and sometimes that is not far from the truth. I would tell you to learn from those of us who have gone before, and stand on our shoulders. I fully intend to continue working from home, but hopefully in a more healthy, balanced way in the next decade than the previous one.
This is a counter-cultural decision, which means you need to approach it with conviction and a proactive attitude. Here is what Shannon says:
“What you’ll find is that the best opportunities have to be sought out. They won’t just fall into your lap. The person who wants a Third Option isn’t content with simply taking what’s available. That person knows what they need from life and is willing to create a new way, a new opportunity, to make it happen.”
And this is what she says about how to know if it’s working, if you’ve found the right fit:
“It’s the intangible things that guide us best. You must be happy. You must be present for your family. You must be the best version of yourself.”
If you are considering making a shift to working from home, but are unsure because you don’t know what to expect, you should pick up The Third Option and read it. Listen to the way she talks about the person that you’ll need to be, and the benefits you’ll reap, and the challenges you’ll face.
While her company is actively pushing for more organizations to go fully virtual, I don’t know if that is practical, but then that’s not the world I know. I can’t gauge how much this trend will take over corporate culture in the years to come, but I do see that it is growing as an accepted practice and is increasingly viable as an option to moms with a desire to pursue it. If you need more autonomy, or more income, or an intellectual outlet, and are willing to work hard both to find the right opportunity for you, and then to make it work for your family, that option is there for you right now.
If you know you’d like to work from home, but you’re not sure how to get from here to there, carve out time to start learning about your options. Make sure you know what you need, what factors are important to you, and then do your research. I’ve been reading around on this quite a bit, and I think this Woman’s Day article is a good place to start. It provides a solid list of the main categories of work at home jobs, with links for each of them to reputable companies.
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