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After maternity leave: six alternatives to going back to your old job

If you fall into the second category, take this feeling as a sign to make changes - but what could these changes be?

In today’s competitive job market, maternity leave can be the only time employed women get to peek at the world outside work. For some of us, the thought of returning to the office will be a wonderful change from trips to the park and changing nappies; for others, the return date will loom dark and foreboding on the horizon.

1. Flexible working, part-time working, home-based and job shares

Most of us don’t hate our jobs but would like more work-life balance. If you can afford to consider any of the above options, now is the time to start applying for new positions. Right now, you have a job and you can afford to negotiate; you don’t need to take the first option that comes along

2. Start a business or become self-employed based on your skill set

If the skills you use in your current role make you employable, they are also saleable. This means you can hire yourself out to existing contacts or via online platforms to complete the work you already do in the office. Take it up to the next level as a business by producing training material to provide tutoring and online coaching to others who want to do the same.

3. Start a totally new business

You could also take the opportunity to break away completely. There is always work available and the jobs that pay well are not necessarily those that no one else wants to do. Look around in your local area for service shortfalls; for example, have you ever wondered why no one in your town offers a local house-sitting service?

4. Buy a franchise

If you have money to invest, there are a number of reliable franchise models to investigate. Franchises have the advantage of offering a brand name and readymade customer base. New franchise models include children’s play services and post-party cleaners – just make sure you are the only one doing it in your area.

5. Have a go at multi-level marketing

if you are an outgoing and social mum with lots of contacts, this could be a role for you. Look for baby and children-related products that are really useful, desirable and good value, and then recruit your selling team to move the products. Stay away from gimmicks and products with no intrinsic value, as this is just pyramid selling and could lose you friends.

6. Get crafty

Did your mother teach you to sew or knit? Do you live near the beach or woods? Believe it or not, there are people around the world willing to pay good money for homemade sweaters and pine cones. Just take a look at one of the many online craft platforms.

7. The bonus point – do all six of the above

Yes, that’s right. Why not consider experimenting with all the above suggestions to see which ones you enjoy and which ones will pay the bills? After all, if there is one thing you have learned during maternity leave, it is how to multi-task.

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