For many professionals, every day is a clash between their career and their commitment to provide hands-on support to the ones they love. More than one in six Americans with full- or part-time employment reports assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member, relative, or friend.
February 21, 2020 marks National Caregivers Day—a day to recognize and thank those who are dedicated to providing compassionate care to others. It’s a responsibility that demands time, energy, and resources; caregivers who work at least 15 hours per week say that it has a significant effect on their work life.
That’s why, when something has to give, work is often the thing to go—just when the extra funds may be needed most to help fund home care, specialists, child care, new living arrangements, and other essential supports. But there are other options.
Regina Sayles held a corporate leadership position, but she struggled to be present for her son, who has autism. “It was challenging to be fully present.”
Now an independent Pinterest marketer, Sayles has all the flexibility and energy she needs. “I’m finally able to not only be there physically but to really be there,” she said. “Freelancing has enabled me to attend important appointments, be more proactive, and give my son the attention and care he needs, especially as he’s grown older. It’s afforded me the luxury of time well spent. Being able to run a business remotely while helping my son through the daily challenges autism brings is more than I could ever have asked for.”
A schedule that accounts for all your priorities
Many traditional jobs don’t accommodate work outside the office or a schedule that can fit around appointments and care needs—and that has a significant impact on caregivers. According to Freelancing in America: 2019 (FIA), a survey commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, nearly half of workers who freelance (46 percent) do so because they’re unable to work for a traditional employer; among those, 40 percent cite familial obligations.
“Dealing with the stress of working in a corporate job, as I did earlier in my career, is just not possible in my life today,” said Patrick O’Donnell. “I am divorced and my daughter is my top priority.”
Now an independent content writer, O’Donnell is able to be available for his daughter anytime she needs him. “I’m able to cook her healthy meals, drop her off at school, and pick her up early when she’s not feeling well. Having my own business enables me to be very intentional about being a parent and cherish the freedom I have to be available for my daughter – all while not having to worry if I’m going to run out of sick days.”
On Upwork, the leading online talent solution, professionals deliver more than 8,000 different skills to clients around the world—including some of the most in-demand expertise in the marketplace today. And they do so in a way that doesn’t compromise their other priorities.
As an independent professional, you can:
- Decide where you work—even if that means moving to another city
- Work when you want and when you’re able to
- Take only the projects you want
- Add a new source of income to the bottom line
According to FIA, technology has made it easier to find work, something that can help boost your family’s bottom line. Among those who left an employer to freelance, 60 percent say they make as much or more working independently—and for more than half, that tipping point took six months or less.
Content writer Laura Pennington Briggs said owning her own business is a blessing that enables her family to come together and support one another both short and long term. “Taking on the responsibility of helping my mother-in-law adjust to life after losing her husband of four decades meant I could be there for her in the time period immediately following his loss,” she explained. “It also means my income can be used to help her financially, too.”