Career Opportunities

A ComputorEdge Column

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On Your Own: Part 5

© Douglas E. Welch 1997

There is one situation that makes life much easier for new consultant. Having a partner who has a steady, full-time job can provide a ?safety net? and allow you more freedom and time to get a business started. This can allow you to ?Ping-Pong? careers, with first one, then the other, climbing the career ladder over a period of years.
I am personally very lucky in this way. My wife of 11 years understands this process. While she has struggled to make it in the television industry, I worked one corporate computer job after another. Last year, she achieved a major milestone in her career and this allowed me the freedom to pursue my career as a freelance writer. Without her, I would still be working both jobs and wondering when I would ever be able to make the leap into being a fulltime writer.

Safety Net
Besides the obvious monetary safety net provided by such an arrangement, there are other benefits, as well. Health care is probably the largest one.
Health insurance can be a major factor in deciding to start your own business. Its significant costs have to be figured into your financial plans if you are not covered under a partners health plan. If you are covered, it is like getting thousands of dollars in increased income before you even sell your first hour of consulting services.
If you are not covered you can look into health plans that are sponsored by small business associations. These associations sell insurance at group rates to their members at significantly lower costs than individual rates.

If you are considering leaving a corporate job you may be old enough to have one or more children. There is an interesting effect that takes place when one parent starts working from home. Since one parent now has a more flexible schedule and works from a home office, they often become the primary care-giver for the children. They are available to pick up sick children from school, run household errands and other family tasks.
It is important to understand this shift so that you and your partner are not caught off guard. It is possible to integrate these new responsibilities into your new career, it only takes some time and understanding.

Pulling your weight
One problem that can crop up is the difference in earnings between the two partners. It takes time to develop a business and both partners must understand this. There can be no recriminations about earnings or the whole business will break down. Also, you must not judge yourself too harshly. Doing the best job possible should be your first goal. The money will follow.

Hopefully, this month has been enlightening. I will discuss further issues for consultants in upcoming columns.

Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on Douglas' web page at:

He can reached via email at

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