Being a caregiver and searching for a job can be a challenging task. Caregiver responsibilities can be time-consuming, unpredictable, and demanding. Countless doctor’s appointments, long, sleepless nights, and physical and emotional stress leave many caregivers drained when conducting a job search.
During the pandemic, those who previously had balance may find they are now out of balance due to sudden and unexpected caregiving duties. Older family members may need more assistance than normal because they can’t leave the house, and children may need additional help navigating e-learning.
There are, however, ways to balance the responsibilities of being a caregiver and the potential stress of a job search.
Here Are 9 Job Search Tips for Caregivers
1. Seek Out Flexible and Remote Jobs
The growth of flexible workplaces and remote work opportunities is a blessing for caregivers. The ability to work from home, or have a flexible schedule, can help caregivers manage their personal and professional obligations.
If you are a caregiver looking for flexible work opportunities, check out this regularly updated list of companies that hire for work-from-home jobs.
2. Ask Your Current Employer About Switching
If you have a job that you like but find yourself unable to balance your work duties with caregiving, ask your current employer about changing your role. Maybe a step back from some of your current responsibilities can help. Or, your employer may be open to letting you work from home a few days a week, or work flexible hours. Be open and honest with your employer about why you need these accommodations, and they may be able to work with you to find a solution.
3. Focus Your Search
You may not want to work from home a few days a week or aren’t interested in working for a fully remote company. In that case, focus your job search on employers who value work-life balance. These employers understand that their employees have obligations outside of work and are typically more understanding with employees who have “life” to take care of.
Research the company’s culture through their website and job postings. But also make sure you read reviews on places like Glassdoor. This can help you find out what a company’s commitment to work-life balance really is (and how much their current employees are able to take advantage of it).
4. Consider Large Employers
Large companies often have more team members and more people to “cover” for others who may be out. Small companies, or start-ups, often ask employees to be a jack-of-all-trades and do things beyond typical job duties and typical job hours.
This may make it more difficult if you need time off or need to suddenly leave because of your caregiving demands. Large companies could have people in place to pick up when you are out; small companies may simply come to a halt if one or two people cannot complete work.
5. Work Part-Time or Freelance
Many caregivers are simply not able to work full-time. But, finding a part-time job, a few part-time jobs, or freelancing can be a great way to work and still manage caregiving responsibilities.
6. Don’t Mention Your Status
When you do interview for jobs, focus on your skills, abilities, and what you bring to the table. This is not the time to mention your caregiving responsibilities. You don’t want the interviewer to think you will miss work or place your caregiving duties ahead of your job duties.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Being a caregiver is demanding, physically and emotionally. Be sure to take care of your health and wellness. Eat right. Exercise. Read. Relax. Participate in hobbies or activities with friends.
These are sometimes not possible when being a caregiver and job seeker, but you have to take care of yourself to take care of others. Easier said than done, but de-stressing is extremely helpful for both personal and professional reasons.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Being a caregiver can take its toll on an individual and family. There may be times when you just need a break or help at home. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family. People really do want to help, and when they ask, “Is there anything we can do?” don’t be afraid to take them up on those offers.
Accept help, and that will help you be the best caregiver, coworker, and family member or parent that you can be.
9. Be a Good Employee
When you are a good employee, employers are more likely to be empathetic to your caregiving needs, which eases the stress of being away from work.
Once you’ve started the job, make your manager aware of your caregiving responsibilities. Being honest and upfront will go a long way toward securing manager and coworker support. And make sure you plan your caregiving time off in advance. Keeping everyone “in the know” about your plans can help the rest of your team manage projects and support you.
Also, be sure to thank your coworkers, managers, and company leaders who help you manage your caregiving responsibilities when not at work. They will appreciate it as much as you appreciate their help.
Balance Is Possible
Managing caregiving duties and a job search (or even a job) is possible in your career. Read about some FlexJobs members who’ve found balance and success managing caregiver duties and fulfilling careers.
The FlexJobs database has thousands of jobs that offer flexible schedules, work-life balance, and remote opportunities that can help you find career happiness while you continue your caregiving responsibilities. All of our jobs are fully vetted and verified, too, ensuring that you have a safe and productive job search.
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