Women Talk: To Work or Not to Work


Sometimes women find themselves at a crossroad when they are faced with a decision to give up their jobs and stay at home or continue with their job but may need to sacrifice time with their loved ones.

It may be a difficult pregnancy or a very ill elderly or very sick child or spouse, or just pure economic reason like the salary they will get from working is not enough to pay for childcare or hospice care hence the contemplation to quit their job. Sometimes the woman is single but the job just got too much and causing too much stress and distress it is affecting the core well-being that leaving the job is certainly a good idea.

There is no right or wrong answer but there are a few factors to consider before making the decision to work or not to work:

1. Economic Reason
First we need to ask if it is financial viable. For single ladies, ask this question: How much savings do I have and how many months can I survive without a fixed monthly income. For married couples, ask this question: Can the family survive on a single income? Without a woman’s contribution, especially if we have dependents like the elderly and kids at stake, the family needs to work out if the monthly expenses can be taken care of with the loss of a single income.

2. Temporary OR Permanent Unemployment
Next after determining your financial situation will be the decision of how long can you stay unemployed. Is this short term for about two to three months and then you need to find another job. This works well when you feel a job is killing you or you just need some break or taking care of matters at home temporarily until permanent help arrives. Or you can decide to stop working for medium term that is for a year or until your youngest kid starts school some 5-8 years down the road. Or just maybe you have decided enough is enough and you would never join the workforce ever again and be your own boss. Consider carefully before making the leap.

3. Consider Alternatives and Have a Backup Plan
The family can also explore their options and consider alternatives. Maybe the women cannot afford childcare if she is at work full time and earn barely enough to cover the cost of childcare and the daily expenses to get to work. Perhaps you can consider working from home if your employer allows it. Flexible work hours is another option and part time employment is also another way to supplement family income. Or start a small business from home while not sacrificing precious time away from home where you wish to be. Always have a back-up plan in place.
Things do go wrong sometimes and don’t be too hard on yourself if you needed to return to work earlier than planned. There is no shame in that.

4. BEING YOUR OWN BOSS: Considering Self-employment

Venturing into the world of being self-employed is becoming increasingly appealing with the wide-spread awareness of being financially free and having more control of your own time rather than pushing papers and trading time for money working 9 to 5 in exchange for the security of a fixed salary. However, there is a thin line between being and entrepreneur  and a self-employed individual.

A self-employed individual may be her own boss but she may need to do everything as a start-up and the big question is – Do You Have The Time? With a regular 9 to 5 job the job worries are left behind the moment you get home at the end of the day. With your own business you are fully accountable for it and it may be a long time before you can reach a state of automation where your business can run itself with minimal managing from you but that will take time, with the budget to consider hiring and training and keeping staff and renting or purchasing the business premises and other overhead costs to consider.
In short I always tell aspiring entrepreneurs this – Ask yourself this question: Can you live the fact that the boss will be the last to draw salary from the business after deducting all the monthly expenses and paying your staff’s salary?

If you can live with that then you may consider venturing into the world of entrepreneurship for the long term.

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Sue Tiong, a former journalist, editor, lecturer, and now a businesswoman who started business from home and successfully moved her business out from home to a physical premise within a year. Sue is also the founder of Millionairemom Asia which was started with the vision to help women to improve their financial status and to create a network of women to support each other and promote continuous learning and upgrading of skills to earn more money to improve their livelihood. The ultimate goal is to create a ripple effect where the system may be duplicated in every location to break through the cultural, religious and political barriers to break down the age-long gender barrier to empower women to live the life and make a living in a way they have every right to, which will keep food on the table and keep children in school. For more information please check out and like our page www.facebook.com/millionairemom.asia