How Does Caregiving Make You an Invaluable Employee?

collaboration-toolbox-mdOn Sunday, I announced that I’m planning a social media campaign that encourages employers to hire family caregivers as well as keep them as employees.

The campaign will highlight what makes family caregivers truly valuable employees. With your help, we’ll promote that message across social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. (I’d love your help in creating the slogan and tag line; be sure to enter our contest to find the best slogan for our campaign.)

To prove my point that family caregivers make invaluable employees, I’d love for you to share how your caregiving responsibilities make you a better employee. For instance, perhaps the tenacity that it takes to follow up with doctors means you have impeccable attention to detail. Or perhaps your ability to manage a caregiving budget means you can stretch one dollar into the buying power of twenty.

Please tell us why your caregiving responsibilities make you a terrific employee in our comments section, below. And, please include as many specific details as possible.

Thanks so much!

Avatar of Denise

About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

10 thoughts on “How Does Caregiving Make You an Invaluable Employee?

  1. Erin Hayes

    Prior to my husband’s spinal cord injury, I thought I was a good employee. However, the skills that I’ve learned from being his primary caregiver have made me a great employee. Overall, because of my husband’s injury, I have become a much more compassionate person which has helped greatly with many relationships at work; internal and external. I handle emergency situations easily and am able to stay calm and work through issues with others on the team. By managing my husband’s care, I’ve gained skills similar to those of a project manager. I am highly organized and a very good multitasker. I can take charge and I have learned how to lead (which is different than being ‘boss.’). I am a very effective communicator which I have honed over the past 6 years especially with the various levels I need to work with in my job and while dealing with my husband’s care. I am detail oriented. I can also recognize problems immediately and work to quickly solve them. However, one of the best skills I’ve learned is when and how to negotiate. This is a must in order to be a good caregiver and is a great skill for any employee to have in order to get things done with various positions at work.

  2. Kaye Swain

    Hi, Great idea! As a real estate agent in Washington, I’m an “employee” to each of my clients. Caregiving has made me better at that because, #! – in addition to having to be ultra-responsible in dealing with all the various issues of life, which translates well into being ultra-responsible for helping clients.

    And #2 – I’ve learned so much over the years about aging in place needs and options along with proactive ways to prepare for caregiving needs in the home and creative ways to deal with the various needs that arise even if your home wasn’t originally set up for aging in place.

    I’m looking forward to reading all the other grand ideas I’m sure will come. :)

  3. Emily Placido

    There are three dramatic changes in my work ethic that were directly related to my caregiving experience. Being the sole caregiver of my aging mom I had to learn new skills that I brought into the workplace.
    1.) Multitasking. There was no choice but to juggle several chores at the same time since mom had symptoms from Alzheimers, and she was limited in what she was able to do. Plus, I was working full time.

    2.) Organization. Things had to be very organized and in its right place or mom would get very confused and agitated.

    3.) Time management: The only way I could have mom’s breakfast ready, get her dressed, take her to adult daycare, and get to work on time was learning how to manage my time. I made a daily schedule and hung it in her room so she could see what day she was going to daycare, and I would know which days I’d have to come home to prepare her lunch and check up on her. I had it down to a tee. My work skills improved dramatically since I incorporated what I learned from caregiving to my work, and it makes it so much easier.

  4. Avatar of Gail KrollGail Kroll

    I think we on the website should give an award or money or scholarship to the employee whom a team or you @denise pick as the most powerful family caregiving who works. WOW! What a real accomplishment!

  5. Avatar of TrishTrish

    I believe being a working caregiver has made me an even more valuable employee. Yes, organization and time management skills are necessary both as a working caregiver and an employee. However, the biggest change that I have noticed is my empathy and even awareness of other working caregivers. Since I am in a managerial position, “seeing both sides” has allowed me to approve flexible working arrangements and be very understanding of the stress caregivers are already under when they walk through the door. Being a working caregiver has also highlighted the importance of communication in the workplace. It is essential to keeping harmony between the employer and caregiver.

    Thank you, @denise, for such an innovative initiative!

  6. Avatar of PegiPegi

    A backwards note on the subject, and vice versa. Having spent many years in management wearing several different hats(bookkeeping, research, personal assitant( and supervising office and maintenance staff; I had to be able to mutlitask, learn time management, above average organizational skills and advocate for my staff. These are now all tools I use in my role as caregiver. Queen of the spreadsheets here!

  7. Susan Baida

    Caregiving has made me an invaluable employee in 3 ways:
    1) I’ve learned to how to build great teams because it would be impossible to get the job done without the best people. And my dream team is made up of family caregivers of different talents, skill sets and personalities! They make the best multi-taskers and team players. They get the job done fast and on time because they know how to ask for help and don’t have egos.
    2) I’ve learned to be much more decisive under pressure. I can judge what decisions can be made quickly versus those that need more time, information or consensus. As a caregiver, you are constantly bombarded with decisions that have to be made and sometimes you can’t make them alone.
    3) I’ve become more of a big picture person. Caring for those who suffer chronic illnesses or who are near death make you constantly aware of what is important in life and puts situations into proper perspective. I don’t sweat the small stuff and allow my actions to be guided by my vision for the best outcome.

  8. Avatar of Rosie

    Great idea. I’m sorry to say but being a caregiver has done nothing to improve my abilities at work. I did my job very well before all this happened and I enjoyed it. Eventually I stepped down from two supervisory positions. Currently I have less responsibilities at work but I still work 7 days (some from home) and 24/7 if you include the medical/husband. Fortunately one of my supervisors is very understanding and helpful. She has been a caregiver in the past. One thing that can work and not work in my favor is that I’m more likely to blurt out what I think in meetings. I skip certain events and that impacts how colleagues perceive me and think of me for projects… not that I can participate like I used to. I have always been an empathetic and caring person which was helpful at work before so I have not become any more empathetic. As much as I am generally a cheerful person and not by nature a bummer, I have to say I don’t find any positive uplifting advantages to being a caregiver. It’s done nothing for my job and I’m concerned about losing it.


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