Food For Thought.

August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Posted in Career angst | 6 Comments

I cannot thank those of you who commented on my last post enough. So many good comments; so much to think about, and revisit.

(And yes, THIS is why I love this community of people, why I love my little corner of the internet.)

I have spent years, it seems, considering what I want to do with my life, my career, etc. And within one post I’m starting to think about things differently.

I realized after writing my post: a good portion of my fear of quitting my job is this feeling of needing security.

I HAVE lived close to the line, when I was unemployed and with $16,000 credit card debt, and it was a terrifying place to be – not knowing which bill I should pay now, juggling it all until my unemployment check came in, the calls from creditors.

Ugh. I never, ever, EVER want to go back there again.

Ever since having Lucky, I’ve needed to see a LOT of money in our savings account. I’ve spent a lot of time squirreling it away. Because that means I don’t have to WORRY about paying the bills; I know it’s there.

But that’s not enough, either. I also need padding in our checking account every month, knowing that our bank balance is big enough to handle unexpected expenses without having to TOUCH our savings account.

It’s an emotional thing for me, then. For some reason, I feel like money = security. And I’m loathe to rock the boat.

And I didn’t KNOW that about myself until I posted. Now I know, which is half the battle.

The other fear, for me?

I’m scared of changing things up right now because I don’t know if I’ll actually be happy being home with Lucky. Because, remember? I was home with him for six months when he was a baby and was so very ready to go back to work.

The irony of this particular worry is that I actually made a good career choice for myself. If, for some reason, I can’t deal with being a SAHM, because it doesn’t make me happy? I can call a couple of recruiters and go back to work whenever I choose.

I think my solution lies somewhere between being a SAHM and working part time. I have this idea that maybe accounting will be more palatable for me if I start talking to local businesses nearby. Maybe I can pick up some reporting here, some bookkeeping there. Trade my services for a workout here and there (means I can get rid of my gym membership! Bonus!).

Accounting is NOT my love. But it does pay the bills. And maybe I can find some happiness in helping people using it, too.

I don’t know. That’s what I’m thinking about, though.

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6 Comments »

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  1. I am trying to keep my own biases out of my comments. Because I love my job, AND I desperately need the money (AND my son is driving me crazy!). But anyway..
    I don’t know whether your calculations of living off Charlie’s income included any preschool or not. But maybe if you took the next year before Lucky starts kindergarten, and kept him in school 2 days a week or something, or half-days or whatever your preschool can do, you could use the time to figure out what you like to do. Is doing accounting somewhere local, or somewhere that does work you care about, going to make you happy? Or do you need to get away from it completely? If you’re not worrying about making money (or at least, the rational question is answered, if not the emotional one), there will be so many things you could try. You could write things on a volunteer basis or be on the board of something. Or just run a lot. But if you can afford to, it wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent SAHM gig, and maybe it would be a year of spending more time with Lucky AND taking time to figure things out for yourself. It could result in going back to working part-time, maybe very part-time. But at the end, you decide you really want to be a SAHM, that’s fine too.

  2. I don’t think your experience in the first 6 months of Lucky’s life would translate to unhappiness as a SAHM/WAHM now that he is 4. The first year with the girls was so uniquely repetitive: feedings and changings and very little feedback or real playful interaction until later in the year. It’s not like that now. Now there is no shortage of drudgery and tedium — I repeat, no shortage — but the girls are also more engaging and interesting.

    I second Deborah’s suggestion for part-time preschool. I & N just started yesterday morning; they will go 2 mornings per week, and the morning sessions are 4 hours long. That’s a good block of time. If you found such a program, you could use that time for office hours, running or swimming or weight training, or take a class or spend time exploring a new hobby. Or just nap. : )

  3. I was wondering about this too last night- your career is so portable and so flexible, in that there will always be a need for an accountant in lots of different situations. Maybe you would like establishing a relationship with a few smaller companies/entrepreneurs who need occasional help (not just at tax time). I bet there are lots of options like that.

    (I am EXACTLY like you with the accounts and having to have money in the chequing account so we don’t need the money in the savings account. We are still building our emergency fund, but I think it will be built by the end of the year, which makes me very happy.)

    My other thought was- is Charlie really ok with picking up the slack and being the sole (or very primary) wage earner? My sister made this comment to me once when I wasn’t sure about whether I was going to go back to school or whatever- she said it wasn’t fair if I got to work part-time or whatever if the trade off was that Q. would have to work harder and longer to keep us afloat. Because while of course I would be happier working fewer hours and being home more with E., etc., I don’t think I could rationalize doing it if it would stress Q. out and cause him to work more, or feel like he had to work more. I feel sometimes society takes it for granted that if a mum wants to scale back her hours and spend more time with her kids and get on the mummy track that is ok, and people don’t stop to think about how that in turn affects the dad. Some dads probably think that is a great idea. But I do wonder if other dads would like to have the chance to work fewer hours, or take a sabbatical, or work part-time, and they don’t get to even think or daydream about it because society tells them (still) that they are the wage earners.

    xoxo
    T.

  4. As a mom who stayed home with my son for the first 13 months and worked outside the home from when he was 13 months until he was 3, I can categorically tell you that the experience will not be the same. It will come with its own challenges, but they will NOT be the same.

    I think you sort of answered what you are leaning toward doing when you said you don’t know how you’ll feel. And, I agree with the other commenter who wondered if O would be home with you full time or will he be in part-time preschool and/or can you schedule a weekly part-time sitter so that you can get some alone time.

    All in all, Serenity, it seems to me like you need a break from your current work. I don’t necessarily see that break as a choice between employment and being a SAHM as much as I see it as a bit of a peace of mind/reconnecting with yourself sabbatical. Here I am, having left my job in May, 2010, and staying at home with a child who was in preschool half-day every day and will be starting full day kindergarten in September. Yes, I am pregnant now and yes I want to get back to work desperately, but I also know what a finite time in my life this will be. So, whether I stay home a year with #2 or go back when he is 6 months, either way, it is STILL a finite time. And, it is SO important to me. I could allow myself to feel guilty and we do have to watch our finances closely, but not so much so that we can’t ever go out to family dinner or buy our son a toy or that I’ve had to give up pedicures or waxing. I just really try to be frugal and I would be even if I was working. I’m in sales and I happen to thrive on a good deal.

    I have the rest of my life to work and so will you. What if you decided to stop working for the time being, and focus on being home, SAHM or not, and do your next cycle without the stress of how working makes you feel? This is a finite time, it really is and no decision has to be forever.

  5. Turia brings up a good point that I have actually faced. What about the other partner, how does being the sole breadwinner work for him? I know that for my husband it is just too much stress. He is a very stressed out person anyway (work-a-holic+) so I know that he does feel less stress when I have a job.

    It does sound that you need to step away from this particular job and your thoughts on making accounting meaningful sounds very entrepreneurial. Maybe you should put up your shingle, so to speak. πŸ™‚

  6. You definitely might enjoy it more now he’s older. Lots of mums are like that. According to one parenting “expert” it depends on your Myers-Briggs type (thinking vs feeling) but however you want to explain it, it’s true.

    That said. I think there’s every possibility you will still want to work part time. I have to say, your plan sounds a lot like what worked out for me last time. A low-impact job in my profession (I am also deeply unsatisfied professionally) to keep my skills… not completely lost… and to get me out of the house and have a change of problems to the ones I have at home πŸ˜‰ Everything has pros and cons, right? Sometimes you just need to take yourself below your threshold of “cons” to enjoy the best of both worlds. (I also used the relocate-with-husband’s-job option I mentioned earlier for the travel side.) In any case, the more options you have to think about, the more likely you are to hit upon a combination/balance that works.

    Bea


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