Increase your job satisfaction

Flexibility seems to be a very important factor influencing job satisfaction of working parents. As a parent you may not only look at what you do at your role and how much money you earn, but also on how much flexibility it gives. Depending on your financial situation you may be ready to trade some of your compensation for more flexibility or on the contrary you may want to aspire for a higher pay & promotion to better meet the financial needs of your family.


In her great book “Back on the Career Track” Carol Fishman Cohen describes a great model that can help you find the right balance in your role and increase job satisfaction. She calls it 3C model, which stands for Control, Compensation & Content.

Here is what these components mean in detail:

Flexibility in your role (Control)

When you are a parent, job flexibility often becomes very important. As parents you want to be able to organize your child drop-off and pick-up and to be able to see your kids during the day and spend time together. 

Financial aspect of your role (Compensation)

When you are a parent, your financial situation may determine some of your career choices. Often times you may find yourself trading some of your compensation for being able to have more flexibility and for example work less hours. And if your financial situation is not letting you meet all the needs of your family, you may want to increase your engagement at work in expense of having more flexibility.

Knowing your financial situation and financial needs are key to know how much flexibility you can afford and what you can possibly ask for. When thinking about that aspect we recommend that you think yourself or with your partner on a couple of questions such as:

  • How much time can you and your partner allow without one salary and without 2 salaries?
  • What is the minimum amount of money you and your partner should make a month to maintain the standard of living you want and to make the savings you need?
  • How much are you spending on average during 1 month?
  • How much are you earning?
  • Are there any ways you could cut down your costs to allow yourself for more flexibility?
  • What are some of the expenses you need to plan ahead for?
  • How hard could your potential earnings hit if you take a career break and how will that affect your savings for things like college and retirement?
  • How much would one spouse have to earn to comfortably afford for the other to take a few years off to be home while children are young or in case of health issues?
  • Do you have an emergency money fund?

What you do in your role (content)

When you have kids to look after, doing something that you enjoy and where you can develop makes it easier for you to make trade offs between work & personal life. It is good to take some time to think about your current role and career goals, understand what you most enjoy and what direction is right for you. Once you know that, you may want to decide to make a career change or introduce some adjustments to your current role, so you can play towards your strengths.

To summarize, control, compensation & content would be the 3 important components of your job that will influence  your job satisfaction as a parent. You will also find yourself trading between the 3 of them to find the right balance.

Take a moment to think if you are satisfied:

  • with the level of flexibility you have?
  • with what you do in your role?
  • with your compensation?