Primary Ps

As you think about your Working-Mother Method and your Contentment Map, remember that you have the ability to control parts of your job to make it a better fit for you. 

The PRIMARY Ps is a system to help identify basic things that you can change to make your job more manageable and appealing:

Place: Where do you work?

  • How far is it from your home?  How does your commute impact the quality of your life?
    • A short commute is an incredible daily time savings.  Think of a 20 minute commute versus a 40 minute commute.   The time savings is 40 minutes a day and over 3 hours a week!  A shorter commute gives you more flexible access to the activities of your children.  A short commute is not always achievable, but it can make an enormous difference in quality of life.
  • Does your job require travel?
    • Travel can be one of the most disruptive work requirements for any working mom, especially if she is the primary physical parent.  It requires finding childcare coverage and managing the emotional concern of children.  A job with limited travel or planned travel can potentially make life easier on the working mom.
  • Will you be expected to relocate to develop within your job?
    • This is always important to consider, but especially in dual career households.

Pace: What are the demands of your job?

  • What are your hours?
    • Many jobs require much more than a 35 or 40 hour work week.   When do we make time for our kids?  Don’t forget that you can remain involved in fulfilling work in a job with fewer hours.  It may mean giving up some responsibilities or changing companies.  But it is doable.
  • What is the stress level?
    • A job that requires you to be “on” 24/7 can make parenting very challenging.
  • Is there flexibility?
    • Flexibility can be a godsend to the working mother.  Whether it is schedule flexibility, telecommuting, etc.

People: Who are you working with and for?

  • Do you like and respect your co-workers and boss?
    • If you don’t like your team, it can make work a miserable experience.  Seek out work situations with a positive people dynamic.
  • Is anyone working for you?
    • Managing others is a job in itself and can limit personal flexibility.  Think about your personal capacity.  If capacity is tight, you may want to consider a role that does not require people management.
  • Do they support your personal and professional needs?
    • This can be tricky to identify, but you will know.  Remember, actions speak louder than words.

Profession: Do you like WHAT you do for work?

  • Remember that working is a marathon, not a sprint.  It is important to find enjoyment.  Enjoyment can take many forms, including gratification from how much you are paid for your work.  If you can’t improve your contentment by changing HOW you work (Place, Pace or People), consider changing WHAT you do for work (Profession).  You may be surprised by the transferability of your skills to another field.