A good friend of mine was recently struggling to make a decision on a new job offer. All she knew is that the decision would have a big impact on her family. She could see the benefits of staying at her old job and the benefits of the new one. As the deadline approached she could not see a clear choice.
The hardest decisions we have to make in life are the ones where there is no obvious answer and we have to hope we make the right choice. Even as working moms who are away from the home, we still have our family’s best interest in our minds at all times. So how do you decide on a job offer or as a working mom? I say ask yourself these questions.
What is your heart truly drawn to?
This was the first question that I asked my friend to ponder. The two jobs that she was deciding between were similar, yet different. So I asked her to think about which job spoke to her heart more. I told her that deep down in her heart one job had to appeal to her more than the other. I think deep down inside we all know what our heart wants and in the situation of a big job change it is good to listen to it.
What do you enjoy most about each choice?
My next question was to make her really think about what she enjoys about her current position and what she would enjoy about the prospective job. Every job has its positives and negatives. In every decision that we make we must be able to see what we like about it. I think it is important to really be able to clearly see the pros and cons of each choice.
What do you dislike most about each choice?
I also asked her to think about what she would like least about each choice. Often sitting down and thinking about what would not be good about each choice is a good way to eliminate one over the other. No matter how appealing a job or any change may be, if there is a major part of it that would not be enjoyable that could eventually be a huge detractor.
What is the least stressful choice?
When you are a working mom this is a question that you need to ask yourself. If you are stressed out constantly by your job, eventually it will begin to show at home. So I asked her to think about how this new position would add or subtract from her current stress level. I knew that in her current job she was bringing work home and stressing about getting it done with two small children at home. The new job would not require as much work at home. The best choice for moms is often the less stressful of the choices.
What choice will make your home life better?
We often don’t think about how different parts of our lives affect us at home. One of the major parts of our lives that impact our home is our work life. I asked my friend to think about how the new job would make her home life better versus her old job. There are many ways a job can affect our home life. Even variables like commute time, hours worked, and schedule can make a big impact on our families. When you have kids these variables can be a game changer. The longer you are in the car, the more time you are spending away from your home and family. If the schedule of a job is not cohesive to your family schedule it may not be worth taking.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
While it is important to take a job that fits our family schedules, it is also important to take a job that moves us towards our future goals for ourselves and our families. I asked my friend to think about what she saw herself doing in 5 years. I asked her if this new job would help move her towards those goals. If a job doesn’t more you toward your goals or you dread the thought of seeing yourself in that same position in 5 years the job is probably not for you.
How will this decision affect you financially?
We would all like to think that money is not a factor in a job choice, but it is. When you are making a career change and your family depends on your income, you have to factor the financials in. This is not to say that you shouldn’t ever take a job that pays less than your current job, but it has to be for the right reasons. I knew that my friend was considering a change that could result in a pay cut, but she had to decide if the other benefits of the position would outweigh the loss of income for her family.
Write it Down
I told my friend that no matter how difficult it was she needed to find the time to sit down and write out the pro’s and con’s of each position to help her clarify her thoughts. While it is important to follow our heart, sometimes when we write down everything about each choice it can clarify the decision for us.
Find a Quiet Place
The last piece of advice that I gave my friend was that she should find a few minutes to be by herself completely free distractions. I told her to set a timer on her phone for 5 minutes and just sit quietly with her thoughts. It is too easy to get caught up hustle and bustle of life these days. We are moving so fast that it becomes easy to make poor or quick decisions in life. I told my friend it would be good to sit quietly for a few minutes and think over the decision.
When you are making a difficult decision, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by it. We don’t always know if we will make the right decision, but by asking ourselves these questions and taking the time to weigh it out we can be more assured that we did.