- Win $100 in prizes!
Should I Get
a Job, or Continue to Work from Home with My Kids?
- © 1999,
by Azriela Jaffe
Experts say that the most
vulnerable time in a marriage is years 5-7, when the romance
has generally faded and the couple is immersed in the power struggles
that emerge in every marriage. With hard work and commitment,
that couple can work through the disenchantment and anger of
these times and create a more lasting, and ultimately satisfying,
love. It is no coincidence that your marriage is more vulnerable
to an affair during this period of time. Just when you have come
to loathe the idiosyncracies of your spouse, you meet up with
someone who seems to have none of these annoying habits -- the
grass starts looking greener somewhere else.
go through cycles in their business, too. After several years
of working hard at the business, if you haven't achieved your
financial goals, if the work has become boring and routine, if
you are tired of customer complaints, long hours, working from
home, or whatever dissatisfactions your business holds, you may
start feeling the itch to look elsewhere. That's normal, and
may even be good for your business. As you'll see from the following
story, leaving your business for a period of time may rejuvenate
you, much as a separation in a marriage can reignite the love
that was forgotten.
Karen is a Lancaster,
PA business owner who spoke candidly with me about this issue,
but asked for anonymity. She has been running her own business
from home for seven years while raising her daughters, now pre-teens.
I met Karen because my family is a consumer of the product she
sells. During our most recent conversation, she acknowledged
a major shift in her business in the last year that arose, ironically,
out of her decision to stop working the business. Karen shares:
first started using the products (that she sells), I never intended
to do it as a business. Two years after taking the products,
I decided to do it as a business part-time, as a way for me to
pay for my own product. As the business started to grow, I realized
it was a way for me to stay home with the kids as they grew up,
instead of looking elsewhere for a job. I loved the business
for several years, but then I lost my passion for it. I thought
people in my organization weren't listening to me the way they
used to and I became very frustrated. After thirteen years of
being home with my kids, I was tired of working from home. I
felt a need to dress up, interview, talk to people and see what
is going on in the workplace.
I put together
a resume, which honestly looked pretty chatty and funny, and
I went on several job interviews with personnel agencies and
companies. I told my organization of 100 people that I would
be leaving the business for awhile, though I'd still be using
the products as a consumer. I got rid of all my business materials.
It was a complete break for me.
I quickly found
out that I wasn't qualified for a lot of jobs. What I love most
is sales and marketing but every sales job I interviewed for
involved a lot of travel. I was used to being available every
day for my kids when they returned home from school, and getting
them ready for school in the morning. I wasn't sure that they,
or I, was ready for me to be gone for full days.
The more I went
on job interviews, the better my business started to look. In
my own business, I can work without any time constraints on where
I have to be at any set time. I choose when I meet with people
and when I call them on the phone based on the kids' schedules.
I didn't want to miss waiting at the corner when school gets
out for my youngest daughter. I wanted to be home for my eighth
grader when she comes home from school, even if she's only home
for ten minutes. The six dollar an hour jobs I could find weren't
worth the sacrifice of not being with my kids. The sales commission
positions I could take involved travel, which not only would
take me away from home too much, but would necessitate us buying
me a car. (Right now we manage fine with one car because my husband
is self-employed and can walk to his office).
After being away
from the business for about six months, I started looking at
my business with new eyes. Suddenly it looked great to me. I
realized that I could create what I wanted, and that all along
the only thing stopping me was me. It may not have health insurance
or a weekly salary, but what it does have are the choices I need
to be able to work and take care of my family. At the same time,
my husband's business started generating more income, which took
away some of the pressure I was feeling to get a job. I went
back to my business and started growing it again with renewed
about Karen's business while she was gone. The love for her business
was reignited by stepping away and realizing the benefits she
had come to take for granted. She needed to look elsewhere in
order to fall in love with her business once again.
If you find yourself
in a rut, or if your business is making you feel grouchy on a
daily basis, it may behoove you to put some distance between
you and your business for a period of time. Take a part-time
job or work on a temporary assignment. Taking a break will either
confirm for you that it's time to move on to something new, or
it might, like Karen, remind you that the grass is actually greenest
in your own backyard.
- Azriela Jaffe is the founder of "Anchored
Dreams", and author of "Honey,
I Want to Start my Own Business, A Planning Guide for Couples"
( Harper Business 1996), and "Let's
Go Into Business Together, Eight Secrets for Successful Business
Partnering" (Avon Books 1998) and Starting
from No: Ten Strategies to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection and
Suceed in Business. (Dearborn 1999).
For a free online newsletter for entrepreneurial couples, or
for information about her syndicated column, "Advice from
A-Z", email [email protected].
Questions and reader response can be emailed, or write to: PO
Box 209, Bausman, PA 17504.