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Questionnaire: Are You Ready to Work Full-time?

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 30 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Work Full-time Children Childcare

Before you had kids, working full-time was easy. But now that you have a toddler and a five-year-old (or a baby and a seven-year-old!), you may look at work in a new light. While you may be considering returning to work full-time, or even starting a new full-time job, have you considered all the implications that will mean?

Many of us have no choice but to work full-time, regardless of how many children we have or what age they are. Others work in professions which allow them to take lots of time off, such as teaching, where you have the flexibility of term-time, or nursing, where you can work in shifts.

If you are thinking about making that step, take our questionnaire to see if you're really ready – and what you need to do to prepare yourself...

1) Have you made suitable childcare arrangements to allow you to work with complete peace of mind?

  • a) Oh dear, I just assumed my part-time nanny would take over. Maybe I should talk to her?
  • b) I think so. The nursery down the corner will probably look after them, as they are on the waiting list. If all else falls though, I have relatives who can pitch in. It's not ideal, but what is?
  • c) Of course. I have my kids enrolled in nursery and full-time school. I also have emergency childcare plans in place, in case I have to attend an out-of-town meeting, work late on an important presentation, or am faced with an ill child.

2) Are you confident your children – and your partner - will cope well when you are working?

  • a) My little on cries when I leave her with a baby-sitter, and my oldest has tantrums when I leave the house. They're only two and four years old and really need me...I really feel I am letting them down.
  • b) I think so, although my husband will have to give the kids tea three times a week and he can't cook. And pick them up from football and he cannot drive. And lead the Girl Guides every other Wednesday...
  • c) Yes, they will be fine. Two are in school full-time and the other loves his nursery. I have an au pair in place already, and my partner's job means he is always free – and willing - in the evenings if I have to work late.

3) If you are going back full-time because of money, have you really done all your homework to see if this is the best deal for you?

  • a) No. I just assumed that we'd be in the black. But now that you think of it...
  • b) I haven't had time to think about anything, I am so busy. Maybe next month I'll do some sums..
  • c) Yes. Although I will be spending more on childcare, transport, lunches and work clothes, I have added it all up and we'll be well ahead if I work full-time, despite tax implications. Plus I love my job...

4) Do you plan to work full-time because you want to/need to, or because you haven't explored other options such as flexible working hours or a job share?

  • a) Flexible hours? Job share? What does that mean?
  • b) I can't really decide what would be better for me, as I need the money. But then I am spending so much on childcare I am not sure full-time work is worth it. I keep going round and round in circles. Help!
  • c) I really love my job and am looking forward to going back full throttle. And if it doesn't work out, my boss and I have discussed a review in three months' time that would allow me to work three days a week on a job share, if that's what I want.

5) Working full-time means making some sacrifices. Are you prepared to give up anything in order to spend more time at the office?

  • a) Nope. I am Super Mum and know that I can do everything.
  • b) I am trying to think about what I can live without, but will probably take it as it comes, even if that means letting people down. I find it hard to say no, to be honest...
  • c) Yes. Although I'm a tidy freak, more money means I can hire a cleaner and I'll let Hubby tidy up the garden, instead of me. I also plan to go to the gym during my lunch hour, instead of in the evenings.

How Did You Do?

Mostly A's You seem to be jumping in without thinking of the consequences. Maybe you're scared to go over all the advantages and disadvantages? Get some real advice before it's too late.

Mostly B's You're so busy with work and home life you are probably pulling your hair out. You haven't had the time to decide if this is really want you want, both personally and financially. Slow down and give it some real thought - and get some sound advice - before you make the leap.

Mostly C's You have looked over all the pros and cons and know what you want. Working full-time is the right decision for you professionally and financially, and it sounds as if your kids and partner will cope well. Go for it!

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