If you have a career and are taking care of an older or disabled loved one, it is likely you have at least had the fleeting thought “maybe I should just quit my job.” Working caregivers are most likely to indulge in this notion when their workday was particularly lousy or when their older loved one was especially needy. But working caregivers need to think very carefully before making the decision to leave the workplace. Here are some questions working caregivers should ask themselves when contemplating if remaining in their career is worth it:
1) Can I really afford to leave the workplace? Working caregivers often think only about the short-term financial impact of resigning. For example, Joyce knows that she is just “breaking even” by paying for her husband to have 8 hours of a home care aide each day while she is at work. But working caregivers need to think beyond that: how will leaving the workplace impact eventual Social Security benefits or a pension? What other benefits do you count on that your employer provides that you would become responsible for?
2) How challenging will it be to re-enter the workplace if I want to? Many working caregivers find that after taking a few months or a year off they miss the challenge of their work, the socialization and the paycheck. If you are in a competitive or fast-moving industry, this is especially important to consider.
3) What are my other options besides resigning? Many working caregivers never look into FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), flexible working schedules, telecommuting or other alternatives. Also, it may be possible that it is simply time to move on from your current job to a new one. Some working caregivers find that changing positions within their company, finding a new job entirely or figuring out a way to work for a more accommodating manager can make a huge difference in their quality of life.