Working Around Kids' Schedules
By Susan Johnston
When Lana Johnson was job-hunting last fall, flexible hours were an absolute must. With three young boys at home and a husband who travels frequently, Johnson needed a job that could work around her kids' schedule. And she found it as PR coordinator for Moby Wrap, a baby carrier company in California where she works out of the office twice a week while her youngest is in preschool. She clocks more hours from home during her three-year-old's naptime and after all three kids are in bed. One of her coworkers also made the transition back to the office by bringing her 12-month-old to work with her every day.
According to Linda Waters, a career advisor and founder of Back to Business LLC, an increasing number of jobs now allow working parents the flexible hours they need. As Waters says, "anything that can be done at a computer with delayed delivery" allows a degree of flextime.
But computer-based jobs are just one option. Read on to discover a sampling of the jobs which allow you to work when your kids are in school (or asleep).
1. Real Estate Agent
Average Salary: $16.43/hour, $59,669/year
Many open houses happen on weekends and real estate agents tend to set their own hours without being tethered to an office from 9-5. Waters says the field requires "a high degree of entrepreneurial style. An introvert is probably not going to be the best person for that, because it requires you to be self-motivated and good in sales."
Average Salary: $16.32/hour, $35,600/year
Tutors can work in schools, hospitals, or with private clients, arranging sessions based on when the student and tutor are available. Depending on your areas of interest or expertise, you might work with elementary school students, help high schoolers prep for the SAT, or converse with adults learning English as a Second Language (ESL). Waters says tutoring "is a great way to take an education degree and turn it into good part time work."
3. PR Specialist
Average Salary: $22.90/hour, $49,200/year
Public relations jobs can include writing press releases and other documents, fielding calls from the media, and building relationships with the community. Says Johnson, "my job is easily done at odd hours, as it is mostly email and writing. However, there are times when phone calls need to be made, and I will often work those into my day when I know there won't be a lot of background noise."
4. Data Entry Specialist
Average Salary: $12.57/hour, $30,900/year
If you're "a data, facts, and figures person," then Waters suggests looking into data entry or bookkeeping. "It's really important to first take stock of what you have and then work out how to fit it in," she adds. Both bookkeeping and data entry require an affinity for numbers, a high degree of accuracy, and attention to detail, but these types of jobs can often be completed from home outside of regular business hours.
5. Maintenance Technician
Average Salary: $16.06/hour, $37,500/year
Often technicians are needed after hours to ensure that things run smoothly. According to John D. Johnsen, a father who works second shift as an assistant maintenance team leader and technician at Whole Foods, getting hired as a maintenance tech requires strong mechanical skills. Now that he's a team leader, he says its "it's more about people skills." His shift runs 2-10:30pm on weekdays and every other Saturday, so Johnsen and his wife don't need to pay for daycare.
6. Yoga Instructor
Average Salary: $22.31/hour, $25,900/year
Teaching yoga or another exercise class can improve both your wallet and your waistline. You might work with private clients in their homes or teach group classes at a gym or yoga studio. Since most yoga classes run between 45 minutes and two hours, working as an instructor makes sense for parents with school-aged children.
Boston-based freelance writer Susan Johnston has covered career and business topics for The Boston Globe, Hispanic Executive Quarterly, WomenEntrepreneur.com, and other publications.