Leaving Your Corporate Career: The First Steps

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They say that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. And for many women, that couldn’t be more true than when it comes to their careers. For years, you may have focused on building your professional life while putting your aspirations on the back burner. The same is true for 34% of women surveyed by Hill Holliday. But then you had children, and everything changed.

Now, you find yourself at a crossroads. You’re an established career woman, but you’re also wanting to make time for your children. The question is, how do you make the transition? It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you take those first steps:

Prepare your mental state

Going from the corporate world to motherhood is a big transition, and it’s essential to be mentally and emotionally prepared for it. Be honest about why you want to leave your career and what you hope to gain from spending more time at home. Being in line with your choices will make the transition much smoother.

If you have any doubts, talk them out with your spouse or a trusted friend. Get your support system in place and ensure every part of you is on board before making any decisions. However, you don’t have to stress yourself out about this decision. Ultimately, there is no correct answer, only what is best for you and your family.

Besides, if you happen to find that you don’t like being a stay-at-home mom, you can always go back to work. There is a lot of flexibility these days, so don’t feel like you have to make a permanent decision. In doing so, you may end up putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

Consider your financial situation

Finances are a huge factor for many women transitioning from career to motherhood. If you are the primary breadwinner in your family, you’ll need to take a good, hard look at your budget and ensure you have enough saved to cover the loss of your income.

Having a plan for health insurance and other benefits is also essential. If you’re leaving your job, you may leave behind an excellent health care plan. Make sure you have a solid understanding of what your options are and how much they will cost.

You also have options if you can’t afford to leave your job altogether. You can look into working part-time or from home. Many companies are now offering more flexible work arrangements, so it’s worth inquiring about what’s available. This way, you can have the best of both worlds — time with your children while still bringing in an income.

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Organize your exit strategy

Suppose you own a small business. In that case, hiring someone to take over your responsibilities may be possible. But for most women, selling the business outright might be the best course of action.

If your business has been in the industry for many years, you will want to get something in return for your hard work. However, if you’re unsure how much it’s worth, getting a CPA-prepared small business valuation might be the way to go. In doing so, you can clearly understand what you own and what it’s worth before moving on to the next phase in your life.

Besides, selling your business will give you the financial freedom to stay home with your children without worrying about working. When you’re ready to move on, ensure you have everything to focus on in your new role as a stay-at-home mom.

Keep in touch with your professional network

Just because you’re leaving your job doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your professional network. Maintaining those relationships will be essential if you ever decide to return to work.

Stay in touch with the people you’ve worked with over the years and let them know what you’re up to. You can also use social media to keep in touch and show them what you’re doing as a stay-at-home mom.

In maintaining those relationships, you never know when an opportunity might present itself. By keeping the lines of communication open, you’ll be better positioned to jump back into the workforce when the time is right. As a result, the transition from stay-at-home mom to a working woman will be much easier.

When you have kids, your priorities change. And for many women, that means leaving their corporate careers behind. It’s a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be scary. You can confidently make the transition by being prepared and knowing what to expect. So take a deep breath and go for it — your family will be glad you did.