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Job Doc

Flex jobs can be found in a bad economy

Q. I had a successful career in technology sales for many years. I left the workforce about 10 years ago. I have three children who are all under 10 years old. I want to return to the workforce, but I need a lot of flexibility. I also don’t want a traditional corporate sales career. Can you suggest any options?

A. You raise an interesting point at an interesting time. With economic uncertainty, we might assume that flexible work arrangements have decreased in the United States. However, the Families and Work Institute’s 2012 National Study of Employers has reported that flexible work arrangements have increased in some areas since 2005. These areas include flex time, flex location, and taking daily time off for urgent matters when needed. Some other flexible work arrangements have declined though, including transitions to part-time schedules or career breaks for family and personal reasons.

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The Families and Work Institute also reports that employees with flexible workplaces report higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction, better mental health, and stronger intentions to remain with their employers.

There are many flexible work options available. Among the options you might consider are a part-time job with a reasonable commute, a role that offers telecommuting, and starting your own business.

Sandy Mauro of Hopkinton had a successful career in technology sales. After having two children, she returned to technology sales but was dissatisfied. She explored a number of career options and settled on one in 2009.

Sandy is a successful CAbi (Carol Anderson by invitation) consultant. CAbi is a women’s clothing line sold by independent sales representatives across the United States. CAbi sells its collection through home-based parties.

Mauro says, “CAbi offers a flexible career option. I can work as much or as little as I want. About 80 percent of my customers are repeat customers.”

As with any job search, do your research before embarking on a new career. Consider the location, job responsibilities, benefits, and the potential income.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.
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