More often than not, working moms face a non-linear career trajectory. And it’s not surprising – it can be hard to jump right back into the job after starting a family. You’re forced to split your energy between quarterly objectives and school lunches, project management and playdates. So, how can you find a job that allows you to maintain a steady life balance and still advance and develop in your career? Maybe it’s time to think about working in the non-profit sector.
According to the National Centre for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the US. This includes public charities as well as private foundations. Although they can’t always pay as well as companies in the for-profit sector, they don’t skimp on benefits. This means you’re more likely to be get sabbaticals, retirement plans, healthcare, flexible working hours, family care time off and generous vacation time.
Think about all the non-profits you know. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Animal shelters? Soup kitchens? The Salvation Army? The non-profit sector is such a diverse sector that you probably aren’t aware of most of the work that’s available out there. They work to improve the common good of society by using all available revenue to serve the public interest. This is typically done through charitable, educational, religious or scientific means.
And it’s not just fundraising and volunteering. In fact, non-profits hire people to do all the same jobs as for-profit organizations. That means skills like business development, finance, marketing and sales are highly sought after. You just need to be able to utilize these skills in the context of social good.
Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons you should consider working for a non-profit.
Whether you’re new to motherhood or are a bit more seasoned, you’ve developed new priorities since starting your family. You’re more aware of weak points in the education system, health care and even impacts you’re having on the environment because you’re thinking about how they affect your family and other families around you. So what if you want to get involved and make a real difference? Well, you’re not alone.
There’s a growing number of women around the world helping their community and getting involved in grass roots organisations. Take, for example, Wendy Kopp, who founded Teach for America in 1990. She wanted to reform the education system in the US, not just for her own children, but for the benefit of children across the country. To tackle the issue, Kopp recruited bright graduates fresh out of college to teach at underperforming schools around the country. Today, there are more than 8,200 members bringing her vision to life.
One of the biggest draws of the non-profit sector is its flexibility. When your organizing your schedule, you need to factor in school drop-offs, extracurricular activities, family dinners and the occasional emergency doctor appointment. Many corporate positions aren’t willing to give working mothers the time and adaptability they need to balance their home life with their work life.
Finding a job that allows you to work remotely or even part-time can be a total godsend, especially with the added benefit of making a positive difference. Finding that perfect work/life balance at the right organization can by the key to your long-term happiness. The good news is that there are a number of non-profit organizations that offer flexible working hours to their employees. Here are just a few:
According to research conducted by Gallup, 85% of workers admit to hating their jobs. When you’re unhappy at work, your emotional and physical health can take a bit of a beating. Combine that with the stress of organising your family life and looking after your children and this could easily be a recipe for disaster. As a mother, it’s even more important to find a career that ensures personal and professional happiness. You don’t want the stress of your work life to bleed into the stresses of home life.
But when the work you’re doing is more focused on helping others, you’re fuelling a reward path in your brain known as the mesolimbic system. This releases a “feel-good” buzz known as “helpers high.” In other words, the more good you’re doing, the more your body and your mind will react positively to your working environment. This means you’ll come home each day happier and more fulfilled than you would if you were working for private/for-profit organization.
Whether you’re looking for more job satisfaction, less stressful working hours or just really want to do some good, there are plenty of routes available for you in the non-profit sector. Not sure where to start? Check out The NonProfit Times annual list of the best non-profits to work for.