To Climb or Not to Climb: How to Decide to Make a Career Move


Let me start by saying that all decisions about whether or not to work outside of the home, whether or not to climb the career ladder, or taking a leap of faith and starting a business, are all deeply personal.  For every study on why women should work outside of the home, I can find another on why women should stay at home. There is no right or wrong way to go, just what is best for you and your family at any given point in time.

I had a good job with a good salary. I had telework, a flexible schedule, and a great boss that never gave me a hard time if I had to pick up a sick kid or needed to come in late after an orthodontist appointment. It really was a working mom’s dream.

A few months ago, I chose to leave that job. I left that job for an amazing opportunity that came with a lot more responsibility, a little bit more pay, something that really stretches me professionally. Nearly two months later, I feel confident that I made the best choice.

Here are some tips I can offer from my experience:

Be intentional.

I didn’t leave my old job for just any job; I left my job for the job. An opportunity came up that brought together my educational and work experiences. I could not have left my comfortable position for anything less.

Consider finances.

Sometimes finances dictate our next moves, this is a fact of life. Sometimes you have to take that higher paying job that has zero flexibility. Don’t fret, it doesn’t have to be forever, consider it a stepping stone as you align yourself for the next great opportunity.

Don’t over-consider finances.

If you are in the fortunate position to not need to make more money to make ends meet, consider what your trade-offs are to determine if that pay bump is worth what you would be giving up.

Identify your village.

Do you have a supportive, capable partner? Tip: your partner is probably more cable than you realize. How about a reliable babysitter? Do you have family close by? Consider who you can call on to fill in gaps, like picking up kids if you are running late.

Kick the guilt.

No matter what you decide, remind yourself that you have thought your decision through and that you are doing what is best for your family. Whether you are staying home until your kids are in school or you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, your choice will involve sacrifice but it can as rewarding as it is challenging.

Have you made a professional leap that you initially had doubts about? Have you opted to work a less demanding job while your children are young? Please share in the comments!