Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: Looking to the Future

For the last 16.5 years, I have devoted myself exclusively to raising my children, hard but exhilarating work. My youngest child is two and we feel that our family is complete. I still have many years ahead of in-the-trenches parenting but now I am starting to think about options and opportunities for work.

Entering the work force in one's 40s is not an easy thing as recent articles have demonstrated. While I want to work, I do not need to work full-time (as long as my husband is gainfully employed, knock on wood) nor do I want the demands and pressures of a serious career that requires long hours at an office. First and foremost, I am a mother, and I consider that to be my most important responsibility. However, my children are getting older and soon will be on missions and that means more outgoing money.  I don't want to work just for money, but for an opportunity to develop and use my strengths and talents. I feel like I have things to offer, not only to my family, but others as well. I also want to use my time meaningfully when my children are grown and have moved out.

But what to do? I want to do something that is flexible where my children are still the priority. I thought about doing something with school--such as becoming a reading teacher. But honestly that doesn't excite me terribly. I like the hours and that my schedule would match my children's. But I have concerns that since my family will likely move a time or two, my ability to advance at a school will be limited. Teaching would also require that I get a Master's Degree, along with the appropriate certification.

I have also considered getting a master's in technical writing and editing, but the truth is, I'm not very good at either. I have seen how talented editors work and I can see where I don't measure up. I like the idea of teaching science students how to write, especially in foreign countries. I have done work in that area so it could be a possibility. I wouldn't be able to start the training for a couple of years because I don't want to leave my daughter in daycare.

Another possibility to consider is becoming a professional genealogist. I am under no illusion that it will be a high paying job, but it is immensely attractive to me. It combines my interests and strengths: research, writing, and history. It would allow me to maintain my primary focus as a mother and choose the work and hours that best suit my schedule. I would seek for certification because that seems to be a better path for getting work and also gives me credibility to charge good rates. I could start right away on my training and do a good portion from home. I could also do this work if we lived in a foreign country, something that is always a possibility for my family.

I could also offer services to make scrapbooks and photo books of old photographs so they could be copied and distributed among families. I have done of that work for my family and would love to share that with others who aren't as skilled as I am.

One of the certification companies request that you have a regional expertise. With my background in Swedish and my experience with the country, focusing on Sweden might be a logical place to focus my studies. I have been studying Swedish again and Brent and I have been talking about returning to Sweden for a year or two so our children could experience living there. That would be an ideal for me to study at Lund University, where my husband got his PhD.

The more I consider this possibility, the more excited I become. So many interesting thoughts....

Have you considered what you will do when your children are grown? Are you looking for work opportunities or do you have other plans at home? 


1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I should have read this before I wrote about wanting to get my Master's degree! I want to get my master's degree. ;) Other than that, I'm not sure I want to do much. I've seen my empty-nester friends and they are still really busy with school kids gone all day. Although... I am now considering homeschooling my younger kids. I feel crazy, but it's a possibility. That will make the Master's degree a bit more challenging, so we'll see.