For Jill Frank, 34, getting laid off six years ago meant a new opportunity. The human resources expert and mother of three decided to work from home as a career coach. She now coaches working moms on how to balance work and family.
How did you get into this business?
I worked in HR for the majority of my career and was laid off. I decided it was a great opportunity, since I had a good severance package, that I could start working for myself. It really is a great opportunity, and I don't think people think about that too often. Just because you don't get up and go to work for a corporation every day doesn't mean you can't make a living.
What don't you like about working for yourself?
The biggest drawback to working for yourself has to be the inconsistency. In the corporate world, you went in, you knew what you were doing, you had a paycheck. ... Working for yourself is different.
What do you like about it?
I liked having the opportunity to work on the projects I wanted to work on, to make the decisions I thought were best for me, and to take on the projects that were most aligned with my strengths.
Why working moms?
I found working moms were really struggling, and I am a working mom myself.
What are the challenges that working moms have?
There's, of course, the balance issue that everyone talks about. But what I've really found is that a lot of moms work because they really want to work, and they feel sort of guilty admitting that. Other people look at them and say, 'Why wouldn't you want to be at home with your kids?' And they do, but there's also this other part of them that they want to fulfill.
What are the issues that come up for them?
How can they access that ambitious side of themselves without neglecting their families or feeling like they're neglecting their families? Should I go to my son's baseball game or have dinner with a client? It's that kind of balance.
Is it the same for men?
I'm not saying men don't want to be involved with their kids ... but when you have kids and you're a two-parent household, the majority of work falls to the mom.
So how do you and your husband divvy up the work?
I can't say we divvy things up a little more evenly. However, we look at our priorities and values and it works out for everyone. There's no regret, and we make it work. I think it also helps if you have a supportive partner.
What are your clients looking for from their partners?
I think their partners do understand, but there's a difference between understanding that need for professional satisfaction and success, but when it comes down to it on a day to day basis, they don't know how to put systems in place and deal with it. They may want to be supportive; it's that they don't know how to be supportive.
How does that work?
I had this one client and she had worked out a schedule with her boss so that she ... could be there in the afternoons for her children. Some of the things we did with her to help her move along, was to kind of lay out some ground rules for what she expected. She sat down with her husband and said, 'These are the things we have to tackle on a regular basis, so how do we do it without being really stressed?'
If it's better to communicate and share chores than making yourself crazy, why don't more couples do it?
I think people don't do it because it's easier sometimes to do it yourself than to try to explain something.
Where do you start?
What we do first is to really chart out what your ideal life would be in your fantasy world. Would it be coming home to a clean house, having people help you clean, or not doing it at all? How would you spend your time at work and your time away from work? We divide it into the non-negotiables, and everything else. You would be amazed at the things you can get rid of and take off your plate.
What's one pitfall you see a lot of?
It is hard for most women to learn how to say no.
Asjylyn Loder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3117.