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3 tips to help you choose a job with great work-life balance

Learn and Launch.July 20, 2017
By Eddie Lester

Eddie Lester is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the founder of Fitness Mentors, a personal trainer education website that prepares trainers for certification exams.

 

For most, the unicorn that is a fantastic work-life balance is nothing but a myth or bucket of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is especially true for those who work the 9-to-5, only imagining what it would be like to take an hour-and-a-half lunch, not worry about taking time off work for a quick trip to the dentist, or who would love the opportunity to sleep in just one day a week and compensate for it later.

For many, a completely new career transition can seem rather daunting but perhaps not as daunting as waking up each day to a job you don’t necessarily value. The good news is that more flexible jobs are out there and the opportunity to spend more time with family or doing the things you love may not be as challenging as previously imagined.

Work-life desires span the generations

While we all have our own idea of what we’d like to do if we could rearrange our schedules so that we could get in a little more “me” time, there are some trends in relation to what each generation values. For example, the oldest generation of employees, the Baby Boomers, are likely to value the flexibility to take time off to deal with health issues, care for aging relatives, or spend time with grandchildren.

The X and Y generations grew up with technology and are accustomed to multi-tasking, something that lends to their desire to want a lot of variety in their work. These generations are generally more independent and less committed to their employers, especially to those who don’t see the importance of a work-life balance.

In fact, a report, “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibilityfound that careers with more work-life balance are strongly correlated to reduced employee turnover as well as increased employee productivity, further showcasing to employers the importance of investing in quality-of-life standards.

That said, understanding that you want more flexibility in the workplace is not the same as understanding how to achieve this in your new profession. These three tips will help to shed some light on how to pursue a career with great work-life balance.

Tip 1: Identify your greatest personal commitments – then find a job that meets these needs

Before you can begin to target a career that is accommodating to the type of work-life balance you are after, you need to identify what your greatest personal commitments are and the kinds of restrictions that are non-negotiable for you. With these commitments in mind you’ll be better-suited to seek employers who meet your criteria for the type of flexibility you are after.

For example, before taking the time to apply for a job or take an interview, you’d want to know what prospective employers offer. Find out if they are offering flexibility in the following areas:

  • Telecommuting
  • Remote working
  • Flexible schedule/hours of work
  • Four-day work weeks
  • Attractive maternity conditions
  • Adequate paid time off
  • Employee wellness programs

 

Once you familiarize yourself with the specific ways you want balance, you are then in a position to seek a profession that meets the needs of your well-being.

Tip 2: Consider Compromise for work-life balance

It is possible that you’ll find a job that checks off all of your requirements for work-life balance and allows you to get the pay you want. However, this is not the norm and most careers that offer more flexibility will also require additional compromises from you.

For example, the quality of life of personal trainers was rated amongst the highest of all professionals in America. These fitness professionals enjoy lots of personal satisfaction, low stress, heaps of flexibility and are regarded as a benefit to society. However, this unconventional career also comes with compromises. Some career sites place the median salary of personal trainers as high as $55,400 while some struggle to bring in anything over $30,000.

Consider what you are willing to compromise for your flexibility.

Tip 3: Consider the transitionary period for a potentially new career

An article by Forbes – “The Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance, rated the top five jobs as Data Scientist, SEO Specialist, Tour Guide, Life Guard and Social Media Manager, respectively. For someone looking to make a complete career change, the educational requirements of say, a Data Scientist, SEO Specialist or Social Media Manager might prove discouraging.

On the other hand, the relatively low barrier of entry for a Tour Guide and the minimal training required for some types of Life Guard positions may make these professions more attractive. However, the paygrades of these jobs (Tour Guides average $26,020 and Life Guards $21,000) may be too great a sacrifice for some who are looking for careers in the six-figure range.

Create the best work-life balance for you

The first step in deciding what type of career would be best for infusing more flexibility into your life is determining what use of your time is non-negotiable. By prioritizing what you want from a career in terms of work-life balance, and by doing preliminary research before you change course, you will naturally focus on your target ahead – a life with more balance where your well-being is a priority.

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