Statistics show that we are now living in a world where at least 30% of wives earn more than their husbands in dual earner households. Add to this the number of women breadwinners who are breadwinners due to widowhood, divorce and/or single motherhood and you have a growing trend that will continue to increase. Although the number of women making more than their spouses is on the rise, so too is the level of job dissatisfaction that many women breadwinners feel as a result of being stuck in unfulfilling jobs that pay the bills but don't do much else. Many women breadwinners are now finding themselves unable to fulfill professional dreams even as they provide a great quality of life for their families.
What is a woman breadwinner to do when her salary is a requirement but her job dissatisfaction is a detriment? How does a breadwinner wife transition to work that she loves when the work that she's doing is the only thing keeping the family in the state of financial stability required to go from one month to the next? These are questions that many women breadwinners are asking themselves as they cringe at the idea of being stuck in jobs that provide in one way and erode in another.
Here are 7 ways to get unstuck when in a lucrative but unfulfilling career:
1) Write a new story. In order to get from where you are to where you want to be, you need to know what that looks, feels and would be like. The best way to do that would be to write out (in your own handwriting, preferably in a journal dedicated to this upcoming career transition) what your ideal career would look like. Writing will make it real. In other words, ask yourself questions like:
1) What field am I in?
2) What hours do I work?
3) What time do I start my day?
4) Who do I talk to on a daily basis?
5) What kinds of things do I do?
6) What kind of training would I need to fulfill this role?
7) How much travel would this position involve?
8) How would I feel doing this role?
9) Where would this role take me in 1, 2, 3 and 5 years?
10) Who would I have to become to fully embody and own that role? Write your new career story and make it as detailed as you can.
2) Find at least 3 women who've made a similar transition and interview them about the hows, whens and whys of their transition. Oftentimes, we surround ourselves with women breadwinners who are very much like us: stuck. In order to truly believe that your career freedom is possible, you need to surround yourself with role models who've been where you are and who got to where you want to go. Even if they are people whose books you've read, contact them via email. Ask to speak to them for 10 minutes on the phone and then ask them how they did it. Take notes, take their advice, and immediately take action.
3) Review your budget, find areas to cut and simplify your living so you can magnify your career. That doesn't mean skimming down to a level below your comfort lifestyle. It simply means looking at your financial picture and assessing how you could save more, spend less, and live simpler to such an extent that you would have more options to make a career transition in 2 years or less.
4) Create 10 hours of education space each week that you can use to build the skillset necessary to make a professional transition with a lateral move in pay. In other words, if you're an IT consultant but your dream is to become a clinical psychologist, create 10 hours of education time each week where you can work on applying for a PhD program in psychology, attend classes to complete a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or obtain your life coaching certification. Will it happen overnight? No but nothing worth having does. Begin with 10 hours a week and see how quickly you accumulate experience and expertise.
5) Talk to your manager about other career options within your company. Before you assume that your current job is the ONLY job you can do in your firm at the same pay, ask questions. Inquire about other opportunities. Create a new position for yourself. Find ways to explore and fully utilize the skills you love to use within your current position and your gifts will make room for you.
6) Start your own business part time and devote 2 years to building it to the point where it replaces your current income. If you're willing to invest the energy and the time, you'll reap the rewards. You bring to the table a myriad of skills that could easily be translated into a part time business. There are people who need and are more than willing to pay for your skills. Start a part time business, see what happens, and learn the truth about making money: life will pay you ANY price you ask.
7) If staying at home is your heart's true desire, have a talk with your spouse. Re-arrange your finances. Find a job that allows you to work at home. Work a flex schedule where you have one to two days a week off so you can spend that time with your children. Children are young once and while not all women are created with that stay-at-home desire, many women breadwinners feel some level of resentment because they are missing out on key milestones for their kids that they won't ever get back again. If you have a deep desire to be at home, explore your options for doing so and create a 12 month plan for how you'll get there. Start today!
Overall, keep in mind one thing: it CAN be done. You are not trapped by your job, your pay, your boss, or your quality of life. In any moment, you can decide that this is not how the story is going to go. It will take time to develop an exit strategy to get to the next level but you can do it. Don't give up. Don't look back. Simply decide and do...