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'I Want More Money, But I Don't Want to Ditch My Flex Job. What Do I Do?'

© Courtesy “Do I push myself to get a director role and possibly lose precious moments with my 11-year-old?” —Denise DeCesare, Ocean Township, NJ

By Lisa Freedman, Working Mother

A mom wants to know if it's worth getting a promotion.

While many parents have their own career aspirations, the unfortunate reality is that moving up at your job often means less time at home to be with your kids. Denise DeCesare, a working mom from New Jersey, is facing that same problem as she questions whether or not seeking a promotion would be worth it since she would have to give up some of her current flexibility. To help Denise, we sought out the advice of a fellow working mom and executive who knows exactly how tough this question can be.

HER DILEMMA: “I got divorced in 2011 and moved back to New Jersey to have my family’s support. I took a job that was a step down because I was concerned about work-life balance and supporting a young child on my own. Now, I love my boss, job and company, but I find myself needing more money and wanting that director title I used to have. Getting those things could mean longer hours, five days a week on-site (I currently commute 90 minutes each way but work from home twice aweek) and less time with my son. Do I try to supplement my income with a side job? Do I push myself to get a director role and possibly lose precious moments with my 11-year-old?”

THE ADVICE: “We’re not talking about work-life balance, it’s more like a work-life fit,” says Christine Aspell, office managing partner for KPMG’s Baltimore office. Aspell says you have to consider your priorities. “Is her promotion a priority right now? Or is her son?” Aspell, who has a 10- and a 14-year-old at home, points out that kids need you less as they get older. (She says she saw a huge shift between 8th and 9th grades.) “My 10-year-old still wants me around, which is great,” she says. “I would say take that time right now. Enjoy your son and, if you can, focus on him as opposed to your career. In a couple of years, he’ll be in high school and things will change significantly.”

© Courtesy ADVISOR: Christine Aspell, office managing partner for KPMG’s Baltimore office

She also advises against the second job. “If one of her biggest motivators is spending time with her son, this would still take away from that. And she’s going to wear herself out to the point where she’s not going to be productive at her main job.” That’s not to say that Denise should deprioritize her job—especially if she hopes to be promoted at her current company. If there’s an extra project she can work on once her son goes to bed, Aspell says Denise should jump on it. “It won’t bring in extra money now, but it could bring additional value to her at the company and prepare her for the next role.” To increase her cash flow now without sacrificing time with her child, Denise and her son could team up to babysit or do yard work for friends and neighbors.



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