Teaching, with its flexible hours and focus on helping children, has long been an attractive option for Moms. Fortunately, even with current budgetary cutbacks, the job outlook for teachers remains strong in many parts of the country. Labor analysts predict that there will be a demand for approximately 4 million new teachers by 2014, due to retirements, turnover in the field and modest projected increases in enrollment.
In response to this projected demand, alternative teacher preparation and certification programs have proliferated over the past 10 years. These programs enable mid-life career changers to quickly and inexpensively train to become teachers, without enrolling in a full-blown degree program.
Click here to be connected to the website run by the National Center for Alternative Certification -- a one-stop, comprehensive clearinghouse for information about alternative routes to certification in the United States.
How do you stay optimistic when you are surrounded by a steady drumbeat of troubling news? It's not an easy task these days, especially when you're worried about holding on to your job or your home.
Yet, it is precisely during times like these that must be proactive about managing our emotional well-being. The people most likely to succeed in this economy are not necessarily those with the best resumes or education, but those who develop the "mental muscle" that empowers them with the focus to create opportunities and their own "luck" in spite of the odds. As famed author Stephen Covey notes, "“Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” Fortunately, with hard work and persistence, optimism can be learned.
Thanks to the emerging science of Applied Positive Psychology (not to be confused with positive thinking), a number of excellent tools have been developed to help people build resiliency and mental well-being.
Here are three invaluable resources that I strongly recommend you explore:
Authentic Happiness: This is the website of Dr. Martin Seligman, who is the founder of the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center. Outstanding website that contains an array of free assessment tools to help you develop insights into yourself and the world around you through scientifically tested questionnaires, surveys, and scales.
Creating Your Best Life: This book by Caroline Miller is filled with research, worksheets and easy-to-implement strategies for people who want to adopt meaningful life planning and impactful goal-setting tools into their lives.
Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life: Dr. Judith Orloff weaves neuroscience, psychology, and spirituality together to create a new approach for freeing yourself from negative emotions.
The US Government provides some of the most extensive sources of career information available on the internet. Whether you are looking to make a career change, want information about starting your own business or need assistance with growing your small business, there is a site for you. Below I have listed some of my favorite resources:
This is an extraordinarily comprehensive site where you can research wages and employment trends, occupational requirements, state by state labor market conditions, millions of employer contacts nationwide, and peruse the most extensive career resource library online.
Updated every two years by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Outlook Handbook details job responsibilities, educational requirements, and outlook information for a wide range of occupations.
Besides providing occupational outlook predictions, the Quarterly has several very useful article archives, including a section called, You’re a What?, that provides information about unusual occupations and career paths.
START/GROW YOUR OWN BUSINESS
US Small Business Administration
A mega site filled with resources for both the novice and seasoned entrepreneur.
Created through a public-private partnership between the US Small Business Administration and private corporations, this site offers everything from individual counseling by e-mail to the most comprehensive information on how to secure financing, contracts and grants for your business. Tremendously useful site.
In my work with clients to help develop more fulfilling career paths, I am always on the lookout for new sources of information about emerging market trends and exciting homebased business opportunities. Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or looking for a new corporate career direction, these resources can help you identify exciting pockets of opportunity in our ever-changing economy. Here are five very useful online guides:
1) Occupational Outlook Handbook: The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. The Handbook, which is based on data compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is revised every two years.
2) Entrepreneur Magazine: At the start of each year, Entrepreneur magazine publishes an article about hot new business ideas for the upcoming year. For 2007, some of the ideas include niche gyms, nonmedical health care and transition services for seniors, eco-friendly products and dessert-only restaurants.
3) Career Voyages: Another useful resource funded by our tax dollars, this site is designed to provide information on high growth, in-demand occupations along with the skills and education needed to attain those jobs. An excellent resource for both parents and students alike.
4) Hot Health Care Careers: Without a doubt, health care is one of the hottest fields in our economy. There are literally hundreds of rewarding careers in medicine and healthcare. This site provides very comprehensive information about an array of health professions.
5) America's Hottest Jobs: Money magazine publishes articles on different aspects of this topic several times a year. Articles included in this collection include The New, New Careers, The Hottest Spots for Knowledge Workers and The Hottest Salaries.
People are always asking me if there is a complete list of "mom-friendly" companies. While there is no one comprehensive list, you can piece together some good information about quality employers through a variety of publications.
I caution you to interpret these lists with a healthy dose of skepticism (click here to read a blog article titled, How Solid is Working Mother's Seal of Approval?). Not every company selected for these lists are uniformly wonderful. Some have great mentoring programs for women (while skimping on flexible work options), some offer on-site daycare (but only at their headquarters locations) and others offer nice extras like concierge services (but still expect their employees to travel at a moments notice).
Even if these lists aren't perfect, they do give you a glimpse into the benefits of working for a variety of firms. Beyond Working Mother's list, here are some other resources to consult:
100 Best Companies to Work for in America: Fortune offers different lists of the most admired companies to work for.
50 Best Companies for Latinas to Work for in the U.S.: Special report from Latina Style identifies companies with special programs and benefits for Hispanic working women.
Forbes - The 200 Best Small Companies: This list features growing small companies.
Employee Ownership 100: By definition, companies that are majority owned by employees are employee-friendly. Check out the list provided by the National Center for Employee Ownership of the largest U. S. companies with over 50% owned by a broad employee ownership plan such as an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) or a stock purchase plan.
In addition to these national lists, local publications (such as The Washingtonian for the Washington D.C. area or Carolina Parenting for Charlotte, NC) periodically run articles about their top picks for family-friendly companies in specific geographic areas. If you're unsure what is available in your local area, just try inputting "family-friendly companies" and the name of your city, into one of the major search engines.