Photo credit: Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

Despite all the drama surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the flexibility it provides to moms interested in a career change cannot be underestimated. The days of being locked into a job because of employer health benefits may finally be over.

Still, severing the cord from a traditional nine-to-five job can be daunting. The good news is that some new workplace trends in 2014 may ultimately help you break free — a rise contracting and part-time opportunities. Here are some tips on how to do both.

Consider hanging your own contractor shingle
The rise of the “gig economy” during the post-recession economy has made for a very attractive contractor environment. And, according to the career site CareerBuilder, 2014 should see even more opportunities: 42% of companies they surveyed plan to hire temporary or contract workers, up 2% over last year.

Going solo takes guts, but it can be really rewarding, it brings tax benefits and best of all, you get to set your own schedule.

Take the leap smartly with these steps:

  • Consider what skills you have that are marketable and in demand
  • Do your research and look into industries in high growth mode and think about how your skills apply
  • Write a detailed business plan
  • Discuss your plan with advisors and champions — how can they help you get clients?
  • Possibly do a “mini” project — paid or unpaid — for someone before you jump ship.
  • Lastly, get ready to network! One thing to realize about freelancing and contracting is that you’re always looking for the next opportunity.

Pitch part-time
Not ready to fully be on your own? Consider pitching a piece of your current job as part-time to your employer. What could you do for three days a week that would still add value? In 2015, employers with more than 50 full-time employees will pay a penalty if they don’t provide health insurance benefits. Part-time employees are exempt in this mandate.

It stands to reason that some employers will be more open to considering a part-time arrangement because it could save them money. And, counterintuitively, you could make nearly the same amount of money as you would working full time, as this University of Chicago professor argues.

Our best advice here is to put yourself in your employer’s shoes. Make your pitch about them, not about you, and how you can really be of more value on a part-time basis. If your employer won’t go for this, check out the many part-time, contract and full-time flex opportunities we filter for on Maybrooks. Either way, there will be more part-time jobs in 2014.

Whatever path you decide is best for you, you can take comfort in knowing that 2014 holds plenty of options — and that’s a good thing!

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