Finding ways to work

by photostock

If you know you’d like to go back to work, but are unsure what to do, this article is for you. Find out how to assess your strengths, skills and motivation. By reading this you will be able to work out more easily which work and business ideas will suit you and fit with your family and circumstances.  

Why do you want to work?

Before you start looking for ideas, take a moment to work out what you are looking for. Why do you want to work? Is it purely financial necessity? Whatever your work, would you rather be at home with the children every day? Emma says, “I didn’t want to go back to work at all, and we managed fora while, but I’ve just started working evenings because otherwise we can’t pay all the bills at the end of the month. “

Or do you desperately need to do something that involves adult conversation? Will one more episode of the Teletubbies tip you over the edge? Elaine, mum to Tim now eight, says, “I remember the moment when, sitting in the lounge one afternoon, I just felt I was going to run out of the house screaming. I was going slowly mad, sitting here watching Cbeebies with Tim, and I needed desperately to find something more interesting to do, at least some of the time”.

When can you work?

Before you rush off to the job centre, think about when it would suit you best to work. Take into account factors such as whether you are good at early morningsorbetter at late nights. Are your children at school, and who could drop them offorpick them up if you weren’t available? Do you have friendsorfamily members who could take turns with collecting and dropping children off? Or can you offer evenings, weekends and bank holidays? And even if you are planning on working while your little ones nap, think about how you will fit in the other jobs you might normally have down in this time. Don’t just think about how the cleaning and washing is going to get done. You also need some time foryourself and foryour partner and this can easily get shoved aside.

Nadine found the decision to quit her job after the birth of her twins and work from home was almost made for her. She had returned to work after the birth of her first child,, and loved her career in HR.  She says, “It was different with three children under the age of three. Childcare cost me £22 each child per day. I worked three days a week, and although I would have got a discount on the fees if I had gone full time I valued the days with the kids too much. My job seemed well paid, but I just couldn’t afford to return to work, pay the cost of travel, clothes and lunches, income tax, NI and so on, I would have been working for negative income”.

Where can you work?

The location of your work is limited by whether you have time where you do not have to look after the kids. If they are of school age, this is simpler, and you may be able to look for work out of the house during school hours. If you have pre-schoolers, do you have someone who could look after the children if you got a job, or would you get childcare? There are lots of jobs that you could do during the evenings and weekends if you have a partner or family member who could help out with childcare, and that way you do not incur further costs. Alternatively, you may want to limit yourself to things you can do in the home. This has many advantages; you gain time by avoiding travelling; you can pop another load of washing on or put dinner in the oven while you are working; and you do not have so much disruption when children are sick. You do have to more creative about making the opportunity to work, and disciplined enough not to just put your feet up and watch TV! This book will help you with lots of ideas whether you are restricted to working from your house or can look for a job beyond the home.

What are your strengths?

Knowing your strengths will help you find a job or create a business that you love. Take some time to assess what you like doing. Look at the skills you used in past employment. And look at what you enjoy doing now. If you are short of ideas, ask friends and family what they think are your strengths. Maybe you are well organised, good at looking after people, physically strong, or love being creative.


Note down these qualities in four columns, as below:


Skills I’ve used in previous jobs/use currently eg typing, good at ironing etc. My qualifications and certificates  What I enjoy doing eg keeping fit, crafts, writing etc.  My other strengths eg organisation, sensitive to others feelings, etc. 









Draw a circle around some of the qualities which stand out to you, and refer back to these when you are looking at different ideas for jobs and businesses. Will each opportunity allow you to work when and where suits you, and will it use the skills and qualities you have?

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