I am feeling pleasantly busy lately as opposed to chicken-with-head-cut-offedly busy, thanks in part to cutting back on a few blogging obligations (bloglibations?). It is far more doable to write for ParentDish twice a week rather than twice a day, for instance. Also, although it seems vaguely impossible that I even have time every week for my office job, going to Workplace seems to free up some space in my life in some way that’s hard to explain — I suppose getting out and having an entirely different set of responsibilities on a part-time basis helps reduce that feeling I am wussily susceptible to, of being completely over-fucking-WHELMED by parenthood.

It doesn’t hurt that Workplace isn’t exactly what you might call a taxing environment. Sure, it’s got its frustrations (although none of them are nearly frustrating to me now as they used to seem: when confronted with an annoying work situation I just compare it to the experience of cleaning up the third milk-barf of the day; or having two small children experiencing total screaming system meltdowns at the same time; or changing a particularly disgusting poopy diaper only to have to immediately change the other kid’s poopy diaper; or staring at the clock in disbelief because you’ve got to be shitting me, there’s no way it’s only 10 AM, I am never going to survive this day, etc — which is to say, that irritating coworker/managerial SNAFU/last-minute project from hell is practically a full-body hot-stone massage in comparison), but overall my office is far more focused on downtime than deadlines. That can soooort of sometimes be an annoyance in and of itself, actually, but really, I can think of worse things to deal with. Like the dotcom job I used to have where the company was owned by a terrifyingly dysfunctional pot-smoking husband and wife team and everyone had to walk around pretending that our software products actually existed, for instance.

My office job is sometimes enjoyable and sometimes lame, and I think I used to feel that I should be entitled to a job that is NEVER lame, but now that I am more seasoned and maybe also a little jaundiced and old enough to not only know what a silicone-based makeup primer is but also to greatly appreciate its effects, I am fairly certain such a job does not exist. I mean, I still believe in pursuing a fulfilling career and I have ideas and hopes for my future job opportunities, I guess I just feel more capable of appreciating what I’ve got now.

How about you? Are you in a good place, job-wise? Have you changed the way you think about working as you’ve gotten older? Those of you who are staying home with kids, do you plan to go back to work at some point, and if so, will you pick up where you left off — or do you have different interests now?

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
101 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mrbranch@hotmail.com
13 years ago

i’ve learned that yeah, i’m bored… but that’s because i haven’t been dong, heh, oops, do-ing, anything about it. so, because my job was so boring, i showed up on a fairly, regular basis.

i’ve found that showing up, on a fairly, regular basis, i mean a somewhat, regular, basis, okay, fine! calling in a lot can get you in trouble!

so, i’ve learned, that despite my job being boring, i need my paycheck. and it’s been pretty busy as of late, and i get to use my brain, so it hasn’t been too terrible.

basically, i’ve learned that being a grown-up, with a job at a high-prestige consulting firm, is not for immature 31 Y.O.s. and i’ve learned that i need to grow up, and that i do in fact like success. i don’t like being a douchebag to acheive success, so i take a stand against that, but i do like knowing i did a good job.

so, basically, i’ve learned that with age comes being a sell-out (somewhat)… it’s a bitter, bitter pill to swallow… but so is is being homeless, so i choose the former. it sucks being a grown-up.

mrbranch@hotmail.com
13 years ago

i’ve learned that yeah, i’m bored… but that’s because i haven’t been dong, heh, oops, do-ing, anything about it. so, because my job was so boring, i showed up on a fairly, regular basis.

i’ve found that showing up, on a fairly, regular basis, i mean a somewhat, regular, basis, okay, fine! calling in a lot can get you in trouble!

so, i’ve learned, that despite my job being boring, i need my paycheck. it’s been pretty busy as of late, and i get to use my brain, so it hasn’t been too terrible.

basically, i’ve learned that being a grown-up, with a job at a high-prestige consulting firm, is not for immature 31 Y.O.s. i’ve learned that i need to grow up, and that i do in fact like success. i don’t like being a douchebag to acheive success, so i take a stand against that, but i do like knowing i did a good job.

so, basically, i’ve learned that with age, comes being a sell-out (somewhat)… it’s a bitter, bitter pill to swallow… but so is is being homeless, so i choose the former. it sucks being a grown-up.

Belle
Belle
13 years ago

I’ve been working full-time for over 36 years, except for a one-year hiatus between the only 2 jobs I’ve had in all that time. I loved my 1st job, worked very hard to get several big promotions, and was the first female manager they’d ever had. (This was from 1971-1987.) I thought I should – and could – “have it all”…. and then gave it up when our kids were in 8th and 4th grade. Too many hours, not enough time to be with family, too much stress, and I wasn’t happy.

I’ve been at my present job for 20 years now. I actually do love it, but I certainly am not using all my skills and talents…but it’s ok. I have great flexibility, I’m comfortable, I know what I’m doing and not afraid to tell people that – ha -, other people know and respect what I do, and I usually don’t even think about my job life when I get home. Pay is for shit, tho, but I actually could care less because we have what we need.

I did not miss ONE game/concert/ceremony/etc in the rest of our kids’ school years, including college. And that to me ended up being way more fulfilling than some dern job. I sure didn’t think that way in my 20s and 30s but by the time I was 40 I had it figured out…for me. I wouldn’t presume to opine on what other moms should do, but I can tell you that I never ever regretted making that change.

Carol
13 years ago

8 month old twins. Me: working full time managing advertising for that big tech company across the lake. We have (had?) a nanny I thought was great. I thought I was living this ideal live with Mary Poppins for a nanny, working 4 days a week, it was perfect. Well, things are quickly falling apart with the nanny, and now I’m re-thinking the whole thing. Maybe I need to give up on the career and stay home with my kids. But would I hate that? Am I cut out for that? Maybe I could work part time? I’m not sure what to do. I like my job, it’s a good career. But it’s not more important than my kids. I put my self through fertility treatment hell to have these babies – and life’s too short. But I don’t know what to do…

Sally
Sally
13 years ago

Gah! – you are making me think about all of this again, just when I thought that I had given the subject my customary “think” and could then bury my head in the sand again for a little while just to put off the decision-making for another day/year!

My children are 15 and 12 and I have been working part-time on and off at various jobs at intervals since they were born (not for the past couple of years, though). Now I am officially “ready for change” and would quite like to totally retrain for something new – the only sticking point is that I have absolutely no conception of what that would be. Hence the total standstill and no decision-making having been done recently! There is a real conflict between wanting to have a fulfilling worklife (and the money wouldn’t hurt) and actively enjoying being able to go to long lunches at the drop off a hat, play tennis in the mornings and not have to spend the entire weekend catching up on ironing and cleaning.

JMH
JMH
13 years ago

Currently, I L.O.V.E. my job, but it took years of shit to get here. I am a teacher. I taught special ed for the first 12 years of my career….and I hated it. Loved the kids, hated all of the rules, laws, insanly long meetings and paperwork. When I had my kids, it got harder to deal with it all and I resented my job. Especially when I had parents that expected me to be available to them 24/7 and I actually had one parent tell me “Your child doesn’t matter but mine does” WTF?? Anyway, due to our financial situation, I had to stay at my job (I have all of the health insurance for our family)

Sometime during the first 5 years of teaching, I knew special ed. was not for me. So, I worked on my masters degree in Educational Technology. Now, I am a Technology Applications teacher at an elementary school. My daughter goes to the same school, so I get to see her often throughout the day. My son will start kindergarten at the school within the next year and a half. Now, I feel like I have a great balance of parenting and working. I work full time 9 months of the year, my kids are at work (school) with me and I have 3 months “off” in the summer to be a SAHM (sort of). It is as close to perfect for me as possible. Love it.

Lauren
13 years ago

Wow, this is a question I ask myself on a daily basis. I don’t hate my job most days, and on weeks like this I actually kind of enjoy it (aaaand that would be because my boss is out of town the whole week and I literally do nothing but read my blogs, books, play mahjong and leave early when he is gone). However, I’m living in this state of constant confusion about work. A) I work for the government (the Army to be exact) and you can imagine the beurocratic bullshit this entails B) I work at a scientific research facility and this brings its own set of…issues (namely, the people…OH GOD the PhD’s)

However, A) I work for the federal government which if you haven’t heard is damn near impossible to lose your job once you’re in and the benefits & retirement are great B) I work in science actually using my degree (miracle) and I do take pride in what we do here – especially when I can see the results of what we do actually being used to help, protect and improve Soldier’s lives in the battlefield.

God, I’m sorry this is so long, but it feels kinda good to work it all out quasi-anonymously. I would love to work somewhere else, to rid myself of the red tape and the paperwork and the war bills (yeah thats a great system – we get a “budget” but then randomly and without warning its all “oh we need 100K back to pay war bills, sorry”), but I’m just not sure I can give up the security and benefits of being here – especially in this economy. But then I don’t want to be like my mother who has stayed 28 years at a job she doesn’t like just because she had stayed so long, it became pointless to get out. Oy vey, I feel damned if I do, damned if I don’t. That’s it, I’m gonna go out and buy a lottery ticket.

Pam
Pam
13 years ago

The way I think about work/career has changed dramatically. I am currently in a really unrewarding job and have been here for 9 years. That is way too long to be some place that sucks the ever loving soul out of you.
Went back to school 3 years ago, partly in hopes of changing careers, but mostly because I was just flat bored to tears. Now that my husband and I are about to try for a baby, I feel trapped in my job because the benefits are outstanding. I’ll stay here until I have a kid, but after that, all bets are off. I need a job where I don’t feel like I’m completely wasting my time. I need a job that challenges me intellectually, at least once a year! I also need a job where I am not the only woman in a small pond of sexist, misogynistic men.

claire
13 years ago

I am working somewhere that sounds a lot like your place in terms of slackedness. Some days I am pretty damn busy and then others, I play scrabble all day. BUT, I welcome the laziness compared to homelife which is all full of baby and husband and cleaning and cooking. I’m desperately trying to find a teaching job but budget cuts are killer on that field right now.

the goddess anna
the goddess anna
13 years ago

When I was in the Navy, I was a linguist/intel analyst. That was my ideal job – busy at times, not so much during others, but ultra cool. But then I had the twins, and I decided to stay at home with all three kids. Two years later, I couldn’t take the pressure of being at home, but my clearance had already expired. I went to school for massage therapy – waiting to take my certification test as I type. It’s also a cool job, imo, a little stressful at times but relaxing at others. I like work that requires a bit of stress, and yet I can’t handle the stress of my kids. I justify that by saying it’s two types of stress.

To be perfectly honest, though, I miss my old job. Enough that I’m brushing up on my language skills, that I might apply to the civilian agency I worked in for the Navy. I just hope it hasn’t been too long.

Jeanette
13 years ago

At this point in my life when I am probably 10 years from retirement my job has become just that, my job. It’s a paycheck and health insurance.

Angela
Angela
13 years ago

Here’s my deal. I have no children – hopefully, I’ll calf a spawn one day, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m almost 30, and there are no worthy sperm donors in my immediate and not-so-immediate vicinity…so, I’m hoping it happens, but not holding my breath anymore. I’ve learned the hard way, you can’t rush things.

Career-wise? I’m presently miserable. I’m working a temporary job, which pays a lowly $10 per hour, which is really not that – ok, nix that, NOT ENGAGING AT ALL. I spend 99% of each day surfing blogs, facebook, and chatting on msn. Yes, I am grateful I have time to piss around, but I need to be mentally engaged. I wouldn’t mind one, hell, even TWO hours of piss around each day, but, 7.5 – 8 hours daily? It gets a bit old.

So, I’ve been on the hunt for another job. I’ve had several interviews for an office position – not exactly my idea of excitement – but it at least sounds busy enough to keep me well, busy each day. The pay is half-decent, and there are company benefits, so it’s definitely a step up.

Though, my ultimate goal is to obtain a University degree. But until I get some current debt out of the way, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

So, I’m starting to freak out a bit…I have not achieved the family, academic, financial, or the career goals I have hoped to have accomplished by this point in my life. I’m starting to worry if I’m running out of time.

Nikki
Nikki
13 years ago

I have a unique situation… I work 40 hrs/week from home for a large corporation. Sounds awesome, yes? Not so much, some days. I found this job so I could stay home with my baby AND eat and pay the mortgage, but it’s incredibly difficult to do what breaks down to two full-time jobs simultaneously. When I feel that I’m paying proper attention to my job, I feel like I’m neglecting my daughter, and when I have a really great day with my daughter, I know I’m going to be up ’til midnight completing the work that went untouched. My boss is incredible, and the schedule is flexible, but I just feel like I have NO TIME to accomplish anything beyond basic childcare and work. No “me time”– or if I do take the time, I’m thinking about all the things that aren’t getting done. It’s hard to make my husband understand how much I envy his ability to LEAVE THE HOUSE and have at least twenty minutes in the car to himself. Sigh.

anonymous
anonymous
13 years ago

My thoughts about jobs/careers have changed considerably now that I am in my 30s.

I guess the biggest change is that I totally no longer believe the expression that proclaims something like, “Follow your passion! The jobs [success] will follow!”

This is total bullshit. Turns out, my “passions” have not led anywhere, and they do not translate into available job options, either because one cannot apply to become an “Olympic Athlete” or because it seems one needs to be able to understand basic science before one can even think about becoming a computer programmer.

I have tried many, many jobs, looking for something that fulfilled my passions; stimulated me; rewarded me; made me feel useful and competent; made me happy. It’s rare that one job can live up to all our wishes for it, and the endless search for perfection that might not exist can lead you to miss seeing the good that’s right in front of you; or to appreciate the best of the realistic options you have; or to keep you constantly dissatisfied because perfection has not been attained. I no longer expect a job to give me so much, and I think (hope) that this will help me feel more satisfied in the future.

So, at this point, while I hope for perfection in a job, mostly I just want a job I don’t hate; that pays me a decent salary & offers decent benefits. Oh, and is too much to ask that the workplace environment NOT BE AIR-CONDITIONED TO SHIT so that I freeze my ass off in the summer? Or that it would be possible to open a window? I think a job that provided an opportunity to have natural light and open windows and a comfortable temperature would trump, perhaps, even a job that fulfilled me. See? My expectations have lowered with old age.

But I think that Hell MUST be a florescent-light adorned cubicle maze in a heavily-tinted & sealed shut window-ed office building pumped with sterile reprocessed air kept at a permanent temperature of “freezing” & perfumed (for hours!) with the odors of everything your coworkers ate for lunch & snack. (Microwave popcorn should be banned in offices!) Shudder.

McCashew
13 years ago

I think we are living a somewhat parallel life if only in the work and parenthood balance department. I echo your sentiments about home sometimes being more stressful than work. When I drop my daughter off at daycare on Tuesday morning I am ready for three glorious days of being able to walk alone, preparing mugs of tea that I won’t just get to hours later and want to spit out because they are ice cold, and I can complete my mental grown-up to do list. Today is Thursday and I am busting at the seams to race over there to pick her up because she is mine! mine! mine! until Tuesday morning. I have found my career aspirations to be somewhat altered since I returned to the workforce. I gave up the particular field of my profession in exchange for a family friendly environment, a short commute, and far less responsibility. I won’t minimize, sometimes I get bummed that I am not doing the things I set out to do, but there will be time for that later won’t there be… and if there isn’t, is it really the end of the world? I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to both work and be Mom to Caroline for anything and I know how lucky I am to have that. I do miss the benefits that accompany working full time and I am kept up late at night every once in awhile wondering how my husband handles shouldering the bulk of our financial obligations… while also worrying about the fact that I have no benefits whatsoever in this position and how we can save for both our retirements and college and on and on and on and on…

bad penguin
13 years ago

I usually love my job, but lately I’ve started to wonder if there is something else I could be doing. It may just be a passing fancy, as the last couple of months have been extra stressful. It may not. It takes me forever to make up my mind about stuff like that, and I still like my job more than not, so I’m probably just going to stick with what I’m doing for a while longer.

eve
eve
13 years ago

I work full-time and I have a 3-year-old son. I have a cushy office job working for a great company, but it doesn’t fulfill me in the least. However, I’m well compensated and I have great benefits, so I feel like I should just suck it up. I guess I’ve never been very career-oriented, and now that I’m a mom, that’s even more true. My husband is a real go-getter, but that means he has changed jobs several times, while I’ve been at the same company for 10 years. I like the stability of my job, my big fat 401(k) account, and the fact that I can afford to send my son to a fabulous preschool. I do fantasize about finding a more fulfilling job some day, but for now I feel that it is in the best interest of my family to stay where I am. Also, if I’m being completely honest, the idea of starting a new job and possibly failing miserable scares the crap out of me. So, there’s that, too. ;)

Andrea
13 years ago

I have always wanted to be a writer. Wha? Really? A blogger who aspires to become published (by the mainstream publishers anyway)? That’s UNHEARD of. /sarcasm. But no, really, ever since I was 8 and wrote a story for a Halloween assignment in 3rd grade, I’ve wanted to write for a living. Sadly, I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to follow through and ended up majoring in something boring that would bring a steady paycheck (accounting). Even before kids, I would lament that I wasn’t following my dreams, that I sold out for stability as opposed to believing in myself and any inch of talent I may/may not have.

Once I had kids, I realized that even my hopes of writing in my spare time and maybe launching a writing career while still earning that steady paycheck were a pipe dream because HA HA HAHAHAHAH! Spare time. What’s that? Is that some sort of new drink put out by Coke that will turn out to be just tap water? Or maybe like the Drink Me drink from Alice and Wonderland, but it pauses time like TiVo instead of making me big? Okay, enough with the dumb analogy (and she thinks she can write? joke’s on her).

But also, since I had kids, I realized that the accounting gig gives me some breathing room from the All Demands, All the Time show in my house, and maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe it even gives me more patience to deal with the kids when I am around them, and makes me a better mom. So right now, while I’m not doing what I always wanted to do, I am doing something important (providing for my family) while still saving a few of my brain cells from total implosion during the constant raucousness in my house. Eventually, I’d like the breathing room to sit down for a little time every day and focus on writing, but I’d imagine that will happen once both kids are a little older and I don’t have to wipe butts and fetch bottles/snacks. I think my perspective did change since having kids and growing up myself a little more. What I once thought was a waste of time has become a rock of security in our lives, and that’s something when you have wee ones whining for more food. I know I can provide that food.

kristylynne
kristylynne
13 years ago

Am one of the “lucky” ones who works from home and spends a lot of time with my toddler son. But I gotta tell ya, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I feel like I’m expected to be Super Worker, Super Mom, Super Housekeeper, Super Everything – because after all, I’m at home and should have all this time to get everything done, right? Well, it doesn’t work that way. My priorities are: child, work, housekeeping, personal hygiene. So pretty much everything but childcare and work falls by the wayside.

Still, I guess I shouldn’t complain. I still think I have it better than a lot of people. And the money is good.

Allison
13 years ago

I’m torn on this one daily. I absolutely adored being home on maternity leave. I was really torn about going back to work, because we technically could afford me staying home, but we’re trying to save for a house, so it just isn’t in the cards right now. Prior to my lil’ G, I was the sole breadwinner and my hubby was in school. He graduated four days after G was born, and got a job that made more than I did. Thanks to this, I was able to come back to my job part-time. Every day it’s a struggle. I really like working, some days, but other days I hate my job and whine and complain about not being able to spend all day with my baby. For now this works, but we’re looking into buying a house in a town about an hour away, and there’s no way I’m going to commute that far for a part-time gig. Also, we’re talking about trying for another baby in the fall, and I’m not sure how we can weigh the daycare costs with my income, since I now ONLY want to work part-time.

Ann
Ann
13 years ago

I just started freelancing and spend about 15 hours in an office and the rest in various coffee shops, on my couch, at client lunches, etc. Compared to my old 40-hour-gray-cubicle prison (where my income was subject to an oppressive HR team, where all the good websites were blocked, where the only reason I had to leave my 4-square-foot-area was to pee or get vending food junk) this freelancing gig is as delightful as a gaggle of sweet, sweet angels singing of my newfound freedom.

Alyce
Alyce
13 years ago

Funny you should ask. I was laid off on Tuesday (economy woes, cutbacks, et al; I was not fired).

Anyone looking for a kick ass administrator/project manager in Santa Fe, NM?

Tara
Tara
13 years ago

I have not yet been able to find anyone willing to pay me to stay home, read many books, drink a lot of coffee, and perhaps knit here & there, which is how I’d REALLY like to spend my time, so I have given up on the whole idea of a “dream job.” I’ve finally decided that work is just a way to pay the bills and enjoy my time (and my family) when I’m NOT working.

But my current job doesn’t totally suck–I actually find it very interesting & exciting at times, the pay is good, my manager is great, they understand work/life balance, yada yada. It isn’t like I’m smoldering away in the depths of hell or anything. And since my husband was recently laid off for several months, I’ve realized just how incredibly damn lucky I am to have a job at all, much less a fairly decent one.

veralynn
13 years ago

I am very happy with my work situation. From time to time I hit overload with it or run into issues, but certainly less than most of my friends in their jobs. Overall, I feel like I have a job that treats me well and lets me do lots of things I’m good at, gives me lots of room to learn new things and, most importantly to me, contributes to helping people. So even when it drives me totally crazy, I wouldn’t change it.

I’m a huge believer in work/life balance, so I am pretty careful to still keep much of my focus on life outside the job.

Getting older, I’ve realized that every job is going to have some suckitude to it and it’s a matter of playing the odds to find the one that gives you the best ratio of good to suck.

anne
anne
13 years ago

Mostly a lurker, especially since I’m not a mom (not that you make me feel unwelcome! just that…well, I’m not a mom, and at this point in time I probably won’t be.)

I love my job dearly. I wish I could do it for the rest of my life. However, my grant runs out in October, and unless my boss finds more funding for me, I’m out. I work in plant pathology – in this job, that means I get to do cool science in the lab, and I also get to be outside *a lot* – I work with fruit trees (acres and acres of them), so I get to do all kinds of field work.

I’m also two semesters away from getting my RN, so I do have that to work with, assuming I graduate. :)

As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve appreciated work more and more. I appreciate the great coworkers and bosses I’ve been fortunate enough to have, and I pay more attention to the lives of my coworkers (and bosses). I think the human element makes all the difference. I’ve become less impatient with the little annoyances, and more patient with the things I need to do to do good work, regardless of the tedium or frustration. I think I’m a better employee than I was when I was younger.

Thank you for asking! Your comment section when you ask these things is fascinating.

el-e-e
13 years ago

You know I HAVE to comment on this: YES, in fact I DO feel like I’m in a good place as far as my job goes.

Finally!

When I had Baby #2 in Feb., I really, really thought I wanted to come back only part-time. It worked out that I could, at least for a little while, and I’m VERY happy with the arrangement. I’m like you in that I’ve finally realized it’s just. a. job. It’s not going to be perfect and it’s not my life’s work. There are some good things about it, and some not, but eh, whatever. They’re great to let me flex my time, especially. I’m learning things most days since I’ve been back, and I KNOW NOW, after Baby #2, that I couldn’t be a SAHM. (I didn’t know that the first time and LAMENTED working. A lot.)

Annabelle
Annabelle
13 years ago

I’ve been working 11 years at the same career that coincidentally is what I majored in at college. I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first child. My 250-person company (which was like a professional family) just got bought by Big Company (>80,000 people). I have no idea what I’m going to do.

Like many of the commenters, staying at home full time is not for everyone but I’m pretty sure this one of those “the grass is always greener” situations. Luckily my boss will have me as much as I want to work, but I’m not sure I want to continue up the managerial ladder. (Besides, who knows how long before they start axing the technical staff…) I will do my work but I don’t think I’ll be up for the stress involved with managing other people. Bah. The worst part is that my co-workers, my clients, everyone wants a definitive answer on what I’m going to do and when will I be back. Mind your own business people! (Did mention I was 30 weeks pregnant?)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
13 years ago

I think this is one of those things where, as a mother, it’s so hard to get the right balance. I used to be so ambitious about my career, and while I do really like my job, I’m now OK with it taking a back seat to my family (my son is 2 and my daughter is 11 weeks). I’ve accepted that for the near future, that will mean fewer promotions and less money, but at least I still feel challenged.
I’m still on maternity leave, but I know when I go back I’ll have that same mixture of guilt and relief when I’m at work. The truth is that an office job seems way easier than being at home full time with the kids, and I sometimes feel like less of a mom when I admit that to myself.
When I’m feeling pessimistic, I think that between working full time and having two kids, I can’t give anything in my life the complete attention it deserves, so I end up feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything as well as I’d like.
But then I see my son, who is so happy and well-adjusted, and I know I must have done something right so far…

Tracy
13 years ago

I have an almost two year old and a job. The thing is there was a point in my life I really wanted a fulfilling CAREER but right now I’m OK with just having a job. You know?

Kristin H
Kristin H
13 years ago

When I was 14 my dad started the company I work for now. We analyze oil samples, like the oil in your car. It’s certainly not something I ever planned on doing (I was a magazine editor out of college), and when I started here I thought it would be temporary.

But it has evolved into a job that I totally love, and I don’t think I’ll ever go anywhere else. Partly because it’s such a unique situation: there’s no place else where I could work for my own company with my brother, but also (getting to your question) because my view of work has indeed changed since I had kids. This job allows me flexibility to be with my kids when I need to, and that has become the #1 priority for me. I am very lucky to have a job I really enjoy.

Elizabeth
13 years ago

I’m at home full time with my baby, and I love it. There are days that drag on and I start to think that maybe I should go back to work, but then I realize that I would only get my girl during the hurried mornings and the cranky evenings, and I just don’t want that.

I do plan on going back to work at some point–hopefully part time–once the child (and potential future sibling) is in school, but I’m also very intimidated by the idea. I’ll have been out of the workforce for years at that point, and what if I’m not competent? What if I can’t even find a job? I struggle sometimes with being the mother of a toddler, but it’s still the best I’ve ever felt at a job, and I worry about whether I’ll be any good at anything else.

Chloe
Chloe
13 years ago

I hate my job with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. The VAST majority of the time. I work retail.
Enough said.

I am trying to get a job as a baker. That would be delightful!
And er, I’m also applying to grad school. Which hopefully I will get into and enjoy.

But for now… retail… intense hatred.

Amanda
Amanda
13 years ago

I can’t believe you would choose to cut back the number of times you can be ragged on by some dipshit aol’rs! What’s up with that?

Erin
13 years ago

Wow, I relate to this post in seriously major ways. I have two young boys as well and love my job about 85% of the time. I would be SO SAD to leave it. I love not being at home. I love eating lunch at my desk. I love making phone calls about personal business while at work and not having someone screaming about their dropped sippie cup for god’s sake while I’m trying to CONVERSE.

I’m in a good place. Busy, like I never knew what busy was before, but in a mostly good way.

I think being a working mom is so much easier than being stay-at-home, and I’m not shy about admitting that. I think it’s harder on my family in certain ways, but easier on me.

Sundry
13 years ago

Erin: for me, I don’t know if I feel that it’s *easier* to be a working mom (it sure can feel HECTIC at times), it’s just *better* for me in a number of ways. I do enjoy the relative freedoms — financial and otherwise — my job provides but I think what it really offers for me personally is a change of pace, a different set of challenges. Spending an afternoon writing copy or brainstorming marketing activities is something I enjoy, and it’s fulfilling in a different way than my parental duties are. I like the mix, you know?

I guess I felt compelled to chime in to clarify that for me it’s not just about being able to make phone calls and eat lunch. Those things are nice, but there’s a lot more to it, too (and you might feel the same way, I just couldn’t tell by your comment).

thejunebug
13 years ago

I love your questions, Linda. :)

Both the hubby and I work in academia, which is a tough field. Finding jobs that 1) are your particular specialty, 2) have no danger of being removed, and 3) offer benefits and pay on a comparable scale, 4) in an area you want to live… well, that’s damn hard. All that PLUS having it be a ‘fulfilling’ experience is just asking too much. Heh.

Seriously, I do love my job. I know I rock at it. I have days where it feels very Sisyphean, but there are also days like today when someone I have only spoken to twice comes to me to help him solve a problem because he knows I can do it. That feels great.

All that said, my work HOURS are terrible. Midnight to 8:30am most of the time, dayshift on all holidays and all semester breaks – so there are times I am nightshift, then dayshift for a week, then nightshift for 3 days, then dayshift for 2, then back to nightshift. I don’t earn enough vacation to take all the ‘dayshift’ days off, since they add up to more than six weeks total in the year. I’m beginning to develop shift-worker’s syndrome and I’m just plain TIRED of working at night, because I want to have a baby – and we can’t while we are both on the nightshift.

So, we’re looking at other opportunities, in nicer areas of the country. I’m hoping we’ll find something!

Bethiclaus
13 years ago

I have this ridiculous job where I get paid more than I’ve ever made before in my life. And all I do is scan documents and index them. And they let me come in whenever I want and work ten of my 30 hours from home. I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this type of job, but I am glad I did. While I couldn’t possibly be fulfilled doing this forever, it is a well-paying job that allows me to stay in grad school and share at-home parenting responsibilities with my husband. I love it.

I’m guessing that once I start lecturing, I’ll find that I really miss such a no-responsibility gig.

Ellen
Ellen
13 years ago

Hey Linda, is there any chance you would link to your ParentDish columns in your entries from now on? They’ll probably never wander over here so I don’t mind confessing that the only time I read that site is for you. I promise to click through faithfully!

Wendy
Wendy
13 years ago

I’ve been a Realtor since before my son (10 months), but the first three months really sucked bad and soured the whole new mom experience…didn’t help that I was selling my own place, building a new one, and failed at the breastfeeing thing. Now I’m expecting #2 and winding down work. That experience made me rethink whether it was worth me being stressed out and bitchy ALL the time…not so much.

The old me needed to give 200% all the time, everywhere. If everyone who came into contact with me didn’t think I was superwoman I’d failed in my mind. The new me figured out I’d want to shoot myself if I tried to give 200% to both home and work (especially work in which the hours vary and pay is not based on time worked).

I can’t wait until one kid goes to school and I can find something near home that allows me to earn a few extra bucks as well as feel like something other than a mom – or in addition to, rather. I love having the opportunity to stay home, but know that it won’t satisfy me forever…nor will they need me home 100% of the time forever.

Whatever that magical job is, it won’t be a big income-producing one, but I’ll love it.

H
H
13 years ago

I began working for a large corporation as a college intern, was hired straight after graduation and planned to climb the corporate (and possibly work internationally) ladder. I’m not a genius, but have excelled academically, am a hard worker and take responsibility very seriously. I put a lot of pressure on myself to live up to my capabilities.

Then I got married, started having kids and entered the management training program at the same time. My son was sick for the first two years of his life (nothing serious, chronic ear infections – but very annoying) and I couldn’t handle the unpredictability of his illnesses and the demands of the management program so I dropped out. My daughter was born and had unexplained apnea so the first 2 years of her life were a huge challenge and were very stressful. By then, I needed insurance, couldn’t handle the stress and demands of climbing the corporate ladder and being the mom I wanted to be. I also realized that if my husband was to do what he does best (sales) to become the main bread winner in our family, he would have to travel constantly and we weren’t willing to make that sacrifice either. So, I fell into being the bread winner and insurance provider – and now I’m trapped into doing whatever job I can do for this company to maintain my seniority (going on 25 years), salary and health insurance. It is stressful for me, but necessary. I could never make this much money in the small city in which we live.

The positive side is that this company dumped as much real estate as it could so I’ve been working out of my home for the past 11 years. While there are definitely sacrifices (personal time suffers because almost everyone is a mobile employee so there are no longer “business hours” for anyone), I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I love wearing comfy clothes and having the flexibility I have. If things are slow, I can mow the lawn, do laundry or even make it to a school program.

My kids are now 16 and 19 and it was great to be home when they came home from school, although they did go to daycare when they were young enough to distract me from my work.

So, I fell into this situation and I accept it. I have a job, I can support my family and I make the best of it.

Sunshyn
13 years ago

I go to work to get some rest. Seriously. So when work gets hectic, I get a little bit pissed off. How dare they dump all their poor planning crises on me at the same time? Ha. Boss has been in DC all week, and I’m really grateful for that. Now is the time to get caught up. So what am I doing? Commenting on blogs I read, of course. I will get caught up after the NEXT one, I promise. I agree, it is much easier to work when you are raising a kid. I wish I’d known that before, when I was raising my kids, instead of my grandkid. Maybe I’d have gotten some rest then, too!

sweetcheese
13 years ago

I have a soul-crushing, office job that pays the bills. So, not a good place job-wise. But I have changed my mind about work as I have aged in the sense that I have pinpointed the sort of job I should not be doing. And certainly not be doing it 3 years AFTER the burnout set in.
I look forward to being a stay at home (and hopefully work at home) mom, but who knows. I am firmly of the belief that every family has its own best way of living.

sooboo
sooboo
13 years ago

I worked in offices for a long, long time, mostly as an assistant. Even when I had good bosses, I didn’t like it. Eventually, I went back to school, got my MFA, and started seriously showing my art. Four years later, I am off the job and I just make my work full time. And I mean full freakin’ time. I just got done with a large project I have been working on since July. I worked six days a week, an average of twelve hour days. It’s crazy, but I love it. The money is barely okay and my next project is to take steps to change that. Also, I don’t have kids and I probably won’t. I don’t think I could be doing this if I did. So there have been sacrifices, but to me it’s worth it.

amy (southkona)
13 years ago

Before kids I was a public school teacher. I had a couple of rough years teaching 7th/8th grade, but by the time my daughter came I had settled into a WONDERFUL job at a great school teaching gifted pullout in the mornings and kindergarten in the afternoons. Love, love, loved it- I would have done it without pay :)
If we had stayed there I would have seriously considered staying on half time; just doing the gifted pullout in the mornings. My daughter was born at the end of March, though, so my maternity leave lasted until summer break, and then it ended up that we moved out of state for my husband’s job.
I did in home daycare for awhile, taking care of two babies as well as my daughter, which worked well for bringing in a little income while being with her, but I didn’t like being confined to the house and my husband had a hard time with other people coming to the house early in the morning and just as he was getting home from work.

I also was pregnant with my second then (they are only 16 months apart), so I took a couple of months off until the baby was born, then watched one toddler (a playmate for my oldest) just a couple of days a week. At around the same time my husband started his own business, with the goal of us eventually being able to do well on just his income.

When my second was a year old, I went back to work 30 hrs a week teaching special needs preschool. My workplace had a program for “typical kids” too, so I was able to bring them to work with me, know their environment and teachers well, and see them at lunch or breaks. Once care for my two was taken out, I basically made enough to pay our mortgage. But I soon found out I was pregnant with my third, so when she was born in April I quit and have been home ever since.

Now the business is doing well, we have five children and we made some major lifestyle changes, moving to rural Hawaii, buying a mac nut farm, and deciding to homeschool, so I don’t see myself returning to a traditional workplace for many years, if ever.

However, as my littlest gets out of the toddler stage (she’s 22 months) I do see me doing income producing activities with my kids, whether additional farming, homeschooling other kids, or who knows what?

amy (southkona)
13 years ago

I will also say the hard part of how we did it is that my husband had to devote long hours and lots of energy to his new business while we were in the most physically demanding stage of parenthood. I was on my own with my kids a lot (still am, really, although it’s a lot easier as they get older,) and I often feel that our marriage has been very neglected.

Josh
Josh
13 years ago

I have had a shit ton of mediocre jobs in my short ass life. I’m 24, and I may have has 24 jobs. But I’ve been at my current job now for a full year, which is pretty good for me. And I fucking love it. I still have to deal with asshole corporate accountants, I still have to deal with unrealistic demands on my performance, and I still have to deal with the same day to day grind of doing the same thing over and over again.

BUT, I get to use chainsaws, sledgehammers, power tools of massive destruction, and generally kick and pound the shit out of things that need to be demolished, while still exercising my abilities as a tradesman. The people I work with are fun and easygoing, like in your place of work. And genreally, just everything about the job is cool, except the schoolboy shorts in my uniform.

The point is that I love going to work every day, and I still have to deal with things on a regular basis that piss me off and are uncool. Maybe one day in fuckin shangrila I’ll find a job that doesn’t suck in any way, but normally you don’t get paid for those, you shell out your own money to do those, and they don’t call them jobs, they call them hobbies.

Stacy
Stacy
13 years ago

Wow. Someone else got laid off on Tuesday? Well, I did love my part-time job that paid enough for daycare for 2 kids and still let some for paying bills and extras. So, now I’m faced with getting a full-time job and I just don’t know how that’s going to go. I’m just hoping that I get another job soon at this point.

Erin
13 years ago

Sundry, yes, absolutely. On all points…

Didn’t realize you’d commented back until now. So I just wanted to drop another line to say that all those things make working the best FOR ME. The fact that I like what I do, that it’s rewarding (FOR ME), that it is healthy (FOR ME) to get out and do something like what I do for work. It was just easier to point to those surface factors in a comment, rather than trying to relay all those complex factors.

The jist is still the same. I feel very similar to what you describe: in a good place. The balance is TOUGH, but it is the best option for me, for us, right now.

Thanks!

Kate
13 years ago

Hmm. Interesting comments from everyone. I consider myself a full-time SAHM, even though I work 10 evenings a month at a hospital. I like my job, am good at it, it pays decent, good benefits, etc. but if I didn’t have to work, I wouldn’t miss it. In fact, I’d be pleased as punch to not work outside the home at all. Even though it’s hard work being a mom, I wouldn’t trade it. I seriously am in awe of moms who work full time – I KNOW there’s no way I could do it. It’s hard enough for me working 20 hours a week, but I need to do so for the benefits as hubby is self-employed.

Right now we’re in the process of building a house and my biggest fear is that it will end up costing so much more than we anticipate that I’ll have to work more. And the thought terrifies me. I hate how working and being tired changes me as a mom and a wife and I hate having my energies demanded elsewhere, away from my family. I realize I’m probably a throwback to another century, but I’m happy as a clam at home with my kids, cooking, baking, playing with them and being part of (almost) every minute of their lives. My son goes to 1st grade next year and it tears my heart out to know that he’ll be gone for 6+ hours a day. I’ll miss the little buggar.

I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do – be a mom – and I love it. That being said, I realize that it’s not for everyone. If working outside the home makes you a better parent, than I applaud you for recognizing that. No point in staying home and being miserable and resentful – not very effective for raising kids or a good example.

Marcie Johnston
13 years ago

hi
q8dry3b6jc32wfqy
good luck