Creating a Portable Career: Mother of 3 Designs Work-from-Home Career
Life sometimes throws us challenges, whether we are ready or not. Natalie Wynn—a mother of three, talented professional, and CareerStep learner—was ready twice: when she unexpectedly needed to be the breadwinner for her family and when she lost an important client. This is the story of how Natalie Wynn used CareerStep to customize her work-from-home career that gives her flexibility as a mom of three.
Prepared For Change, Expected And Unexpected
“The MyCAA grant was an awesome, awesome option for me.” –Natalie Wynn, medical transcriptionist, paid for CareerStep’s training program entirely through MyCAA grant money
The year 2010 was a big one for the Wynn family. Natalie, who had a bachelor’s degree in English, worked as a graphic designer in Pensacola, Florida. Her husband was serving in the military, and their frequent moves made it challenging for Natalie to keep a long-term job. When Natalie learned her husband was being relocated to Oak Harbor, Washington, she began looking for a job she could take with her. After a little research, Natalie was drawn to CareerStep as an option for online career training, particularly impressed by the company’s career placement services. Plus, as a military spouse, she could take advantage of the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) grant, a federal program that covered all of her CareerStep training. “The MyCAA grant was an awesome, awesome option for me,” she said.
“I could be flexible with the program and do it at my own speed when I had the time. It fit into our lives very smoothly.” –Natalie Wynn, CareerStep learner, medical transcriptionist for six years
Once they were settled in to the Pacific Northwest, Natalie dove into CareerStep training. It was during this same time Natalie found out she was expecting her first child. She continued to work on the CareerStep course while adjusting to her new home and pregnancy. “I took it pretty slow, as far as finishing the course,” she said. “I could be flexible with the program and do it at my own speed when I had the time. It fit into our lives very smoothly.”
Getting training that would help her find a flexible job quickly was important to Natalie. She knew her husband was planning on ending his military service at the end of the year and she wanted to be prepared. Natalie studied hard and completed her training with high honors from the CareerStep program. She had set her sights on “high honors” because she knew good companies sought top-tier learners. Natalie initiated getting help from CareerStep’s career placement resources, but was actually hired—less than a week after completing her training in October—by a small transcription services company in Kansas City.
In mid-November, Natalie gave birth to her first child. Shortly thereafter, her husband received an honorable discharge from the military, and they lost the income he had received. She went back to work—from home—in December. “The situation was a little bit stressful, but he was very supportive in watching our son,” she remembers. Her new transcription career kept their family afloat while her husband was temporarily unemployed—but Natalie and her husband didn’t know how long it would take for him to find a job. He was unemployed for seven months.
“America was facing a recession, the bubble burst on housing, and there just weren’t a whole lot of jobs in the small town where we lived,” Natalie said. Although it was a stressful time, Natalie was glad she was prepared. She had a job and could work from home while spending time with her new baby. Timing was actually perfect: Natalie had support from her husband and family while she was learning the ropes of transcription. Natalie’s sister-in-law, who had also completed the CareerStep program, was able to mentor Natalie on her initial transcription assignments, and her mom visited to help out with the new grandbaby. As an added bonus, Natalie’s husband was home for special bonding time during their new baby’s first few months.
Prepared For Every Possibility
“Once we got set up, I started working right away again with hardly an interruption.” –Natalie Wynn, medical transcriptionist who moved her family across country 2 times in 6 years
About four years after Natalie first found her initial transcription job, her husband was again faced with the prospect of sudden unemployment. Her husband’s company relocated to Phoenix, taking all their employees with them. Rather than go through a second long period of unemployment, Natalie and her husband decided to pick up their family of four and move from Washington to Arizona. This time, Natalie was prepared with an easy-to-transport career. With her husband already working in Phoenix, Natalie remembers packing up the house herself while continuing to fit in several hours of transcription work each day. “Once we got set up, I started working right away again with hardly an interruption,” said Natalie.
Natalie was soon faced with another hurdle: the original transcription company that had hired her in 2010 lost their contract to do operative reports, so Natalie lost a large percentage of her income. She had been treated well by this company and didn’t want to leave, but knew she needed more to help support her growing family.
“Since I already had experience with medical transcription, I figured I could easily translate that to any kind of transcription.” –Natalie Wynn, medical transcriptionist for 6 years, freelance transcriptionist for 2
Natalie experimented with freelancing and chanced upon a website called Upworks, where freelancers can submit proposals to companies looking for various services. “Since I already had experience with medical transcription, I figured I could easily translate that to any kind of transcription,” she said. She started out taking a few projects a month, and eventually replaced the income she had lost. She still works regularly with several of the clients she found through Upworks, splitting her time about 50/50 between the medical transcription company that first hired her 6 years ago and her freelance work. “My husband is actually very proud that I went out and got my own clients instead of working solely for the company that first hired me,” said Natalie.
How does medical transcription and freelance transcription compare to the graphic design job she lost when her family first had to move six years ago? “My transcription work is really interesting!” she said. “I recently did some interviews with people who were high on the corporate ladder, CEOs and vice presidents, that focused on their personal lives, and that was really interesting for me.” She’s also transcribed research studies and interviews with orthopedic surgeons who discussed new types of implants and ways to promote faster healing. Topics run a wide gamut, keeping Natalie consistently engaged and enjoying her work.
A Career That Adapts To Evolving Family Needs
Today, Natalie has three young children. Her husband is very supportive of her choice to work from home, and Natalie has found a flexible job that adjusts neatly to family life, which she has found, can change quite a lot from day to day and month to month. What does Natalie’s daily life look like right now? Her first son is now in half-day kindergarten and her other children are at home. Natalie works hard for an hour in the morning before picking her son up, making lunch, and hanging out and playing with her kids. During naptime, Natalie usually fits in another couple of hours, and then if she needs to, she works for an hour or two in the evening after the kids are in bed.
“I like this job because I have plenty of time throughout the day to play and read with my kids, and I’m right there if they need me at any time.” –Natalie Wynn, stay-at-home mom of three, medical transcriptionist
As her children grow, Natalie’s career evolves. She recently had an interview with another transcription company and accepted a role with them as a transcriptionist and editor. “It was a sudden, but exciting, change and advancement,” she said. “I like this job because I have plenty of time throughout the day to play and read with my kids, and I’m right there if they need me at any time,” she said. With a schedule that changes as her kids grow and the awareness that things can always change—and quickly—Natalie loves having a career and schedule that can adjust to her ever-evolving needs, wherever she might be.