(Editor’s Note: As part of our Hire a Family Caregiver campaign, I’ll introduce you to working family caregivers on a regular basis.)
CareGiving.com: We often hear that caregiving responsibilities negatively impact productivity in the workplace. How do you think your caregiving experience has made you more productive?
Kelly: My wife and I have twins, both endowed with Down syndrome and autism. I have learned that I must make the most of my time in the office as I am a commission-only insurance agent. My time has to be productive in order that I make a living and meet the needs of my sons when they are out of school. My wife is a flight attendant for a major airline which adds to our complicated lives.
CareGiving.com: What do you enjoy about your job?
Kelly: Being commission only, I have great flexibility in the hours I work. It also helps that my employer understands my family situation.
CareGiving.com: What do you hope to achieve in your career?
Kelly: My career is second to my family; my employer knows and understands this as well. My calling is to be a great father and I try and become at that better every day. It’s unfortunate that being a great father doesn’t pay very well monetarily but the rewards I receive from my sons are priceless.
CareGiving.com: What advice would you offer to another working family caregiver?
Kelly: Family is always first. If you work for someone that places the company higher than your family, finds a new employer. I did eight years ago. I changed professions at the age of 45 and I haven’t looked back. Best thing I could have ever done. It was hard but it was worth it.
CareGiving.com: What suggestions would you offer employers that can help their employees with caregiving responsibilities?
Kelly: Be more understanding and flexible. Caring for a family member, be it a child or an aging parent, is challenging. We (parents that care for family members) that work a full-time job and have another full time job waiting for us when we get home. As we say in our home, we work from sons up to sons down, every day.
CareGiving.com: Finally, tell us about your caregiving situation. How long have you been caregiving?
Kelly: 19 years March 11th 1995 to this day and God willing at least 19 more. My wife and I have been married 30 years; our sons are our only children and we invest as much time in them as humanly possible.
(Tell us your story; share your experiences about your life as a working family caregiver.)
- Make a difference! Download a daily log to track your day’s responsibilities, tasks and reminders. We’re collecting daily logs to capture the reality of a family caregiver’s day so we can create better solutions for you. “It was very helpful” to complete a log, a family caregiver said.
- Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Chris Gunderson (caregiving.com)
- Working Family Caregivers: Tell Us Your Story (caregiving.com)
- Virtual Caregiving Conference: Traveling with Your Caree (caregiving.com)
- You Might Be a Caregiver If… (caregiving.com)
- How Did You Learn to Provide Care? (caregiving.com)
- Hello (caregiving.com)