Are you a home-based person of social conscience looking to contribute to a particular social cause? Welcome, we have some ideas for you.
This is the second part of a two-part piece on how to work for change without leaving the house. We previously discussed finding your calling, working with varying levels of experience, and looking at volunteer options. Read on for tips on where to find, and how to land, paid flex work, and how to make it all fit.
It will take some efficient time management, but with creative multitasking and focused organization, you can do it all and still get some sleep.
Where to look
Now that you’ve found your calling and feel confident with how to pitch yourself, where do you look to start the application process? If you’ve never done it before, finding remote work can be a formidable task. Here are a couple resources and ideas to get you started.
- Surprise! You’re already on the right track because you’re here! The mission of Idealist.org is to connect people who want to do good with opportunities for action.
- The online job depot Flexjobs is another popular resource for legitimate telecommuting positions.
- Looking for an environment that’s sympathetic to your need for flexibility? Utilize the resources in this piece on supportive workplaces for caregivers to help you find paid work that you can do on the side.
And if you’re a self-proclaimed digital diva, check out these out-of-the-box ideas that could go a long way towards finding the position that’s right for you:
- Utilize your social media as the powerful research tool it can be and it just might lead you to discovering potential positions. You don’t have to do anything too time consuming, just start following role models on Twitter, reach out to nonprofits you like online, and join networking groups. Those networking groups can have thousands of members posting opportunities every day!
- Feel like expressing yourself? Start a blog that allows you to write about the movements, political environment, and events you are passionate about. Blogging can lead to big things!
Depending on what you’re looking for, you will likely be considering work as a freelancer, a contractor, or as a part-time employee position with an option to telecommute. This will allow you to carry out your social agenda while remaining in your home.
- Freelance. Project-to-project work is a place to start, the only challenge with this is the time it takes to hustle the next gig. If you’re good at that, say you’re a fast-talking, social butterfly for example, then it won’t be too challenging. But if finding new projects sounds intimidating, explore other routes as well.
- Contractor. Signing on as a contractor with a nonprofit allows you the flexibility to work your own hours while also offering an ongoing and developing relationship with an organization. This allows for a bit more security.
- Part-time with telecommuting. This option allows for the most security of the three routes presented. You’re on the payroll, potential for benefits, but have a less flexible schedule and may even have to go to the office on occasion. But you will have a closer and consistent connection with the organization and a decent amount of job security and consistency.
- Full-time remote. And finally, if are leaving a job to tend to responsibilities at home, try to take it with you! Check out this two-part series on making your case for a remote work position.
Fitting it all in
Now you have a side job or volunteer gig that fulfills your social agenda, but doesn’t interfere with your existing home-based responsibilities. It’s vital to now put in extra effort to master some serious multitasking. Here are some tips to get your started balancing your work and life responsibilities now that they occupy the same space.
- Set internal schedule goals, and work ahead. If your work is deadline oriented and your boss isn’t communicating due dates, set them yourself. Internal deadlines can be a life saver, and supervisors love them. They will help you stay proactive and space out projects or events, allowing you ample time to finish on time, every time.
- Plan your personal responsibilities like a boss. If you’re a caregiver, create a weekly calendar of all the doctor’s office waiting room time you’ll be logging, and if appropriate, determine what work you can do while you’re waiting. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, try to determine what shorter projects you can do during nap or play time. Fitting in such tasks as calendaring, returning emails, organizing notes from a previous meeting, and outlining presentations can really make the most of those spare few moments throughout the day.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed
You have a lot on your plate. Are you losing sleep, forgetting people’s names, or setting your alarm for the middle of the night? Stop. You’re overwhelmed and things are starting to slip.
Put on the breaks, reassess, and ask for help. It’s okay to wave the white flag of surrender if you feel like you’re drowning. Going along with our working-ahead theme, know thyself and anticipate chaos. Set up emergency stops beforehand (just in case) to help you when or if the overwhelm occurs. Ways to do this include:
- Maintain strong lines of communication with your direct supervisor. If necessary, give them basic information on the potential pandemonium that is your everyday, without going into too much detail. That way they’ll be more understanding if you have to go offline for a period of time.
- Don’t take on more than you can handle. If your supervisor asks if you can take on additional work, just say no for now. It’s likely your schedule won’t allow for more when you’re just starting out, and setting yourself up for failure won’t feel awesome for anyone. Practiced your juggling before catching another ball.
Remember too, while you’re passionate about your new position and you feel like it’s the best thing ever, respect why you’re at home. You’re there for a reason, whether it’s healing, care-taking, parenting, or just taking time off between difficult positions––be careful to keep your priorities straight.
Are you a stay-at-home individual who also works on the side to create positive social change? Let us know! We’d love to hear your story and how you made it all work for you.
About the author: With a background in the performing arts and journalism, Caroline understands the often motley course of career change. She’s been a reporter at NPR, a music teacher, and co-managed a yoga resort in in northern Michigan. Her passions include helping at-risk youth, supporting women’s rights, and encouraging girls to study science.