Friday, February 6, 2009

The choice


The big news is that I asked to cut back to part time at my job, and the answer is no. I'm a little shocked, despite all the evidence that this would be the answer. I am to make a decision in the next weeks here as to whether I will agree to stay on full-time or resign.

My usual pattern of trying not to let any door close under any circumstance has slammed up against the complete unsustainability of our current family situation. Something must give. It's not the kind of choice I really "do" very gracefully.

So. A big choice! Kind of exciting, in a panic-attack-inducing sort of scone-baking fantasy sort of way. Because what if I don't get something ELSE? There is a little problem with the economy, last I checked. What if I am just being a big COMPLAINER and I should just get over it?

The thing is--here's the thing--I would love to quit, I likely will, and I suspect my employer has done me a favor. The reasons I can think of to stay on given their expectation of full-time are purely financial. Purely. And it's a postdoc, so not even THAT financial. I do suspect that there may be a problem with "fit" and etc etc all those professional-type things people say in meetings in between bites of baby carrot. Whether the "fit" problem is between me and this particular job or this entire industry remains to be seen. Or between this industry, Jeff's, and family life as we value it. Maybe I will never know.

My son, oh, to be with him more would make my heart sing. To have time to shop and prepare good whole foods for my family? The hills are alive... to be able to take my PhD by the tail and make it work for me instead of the other way around? ...with the sound of music...

But actually leaving? It would still feel like a failure and scare me to pieces. It would be all stressful and self-doubt and second-guessing and social comparison and doors-slamming-shut wah wah feeling. Enough that I might actually try to stick it out for awhile longer. Am I an idiot? Don't answer that.

So there you have it. A big choice here in the next few weeks.

29 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Hopefully your heart will tell you what to do.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Yes, follow your heart, Nora. I think it will tell you very well where it will take you. I can see the answer from here. Don't second guess after you have made that decision. It will be the right one. No need to beat yourself up over it.

Coffeegrl said...

Oh how scary - in ways both good and bad. May this be one of those life-changing events that causes you to look back and say, "If that hadn't happened think of all the wonderful things I would have missed out on..."

sarah bean said...

Eww, I hate big decisions.
Good luck.

Mary Alice said...

There are the values of large corps or institutions and then there are the values of our hearts .....and sometimes those values don't fit together at all.

the cubicle's backporch said...

That is scary. I hope you'll figure out the best way to make things work. Keep us posted! :)

Mac and Cheese said...

Sounds like an easy decision to me.

Rima said...

Oh, that is very, very hard. I would feel the same way.

Mama Goose said...

Follow your heart. Or those eyes. Yep, I'd go for the eyes. Good luck.

smalltownmom said...

In 2000 I quit to stay home with my kids.

Best decision ever.

Wendy said...

I hate making those decisions, where you can't go back and time keeps going and.... I'll shut up now. Good luck with figuring out what will work best for you!

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I don't have anything brilliant to add. I know you'll make the right choice.

(I think I'm just stunned by that boy's eyes. *sigh*)

phd in yogurtry said...

Much at stake. I'm sorry your workplace won't cut you any pt-time slack. Are there any flex-time options that could ease your situation?

Jen Anderson said...

Good for you for asking. They can't say yes if you don't ask. I'm shocked they said no, considering how much it would help their budget.

What's really frustrating about part time office jobs is that you have to work full time and then ask to cut back. I never saw any part time jobs in my former field (technology).

I did cut back to part time at my last job and it worked out great. It helped my boss' budget and she knew that I'd be able to get a full amount of work done in 25 hours a week. Unfortunately for me, I got paid less (I was an hourly contractor) even though I was cutting back on the web surfing time and not on my doing work time. In most offices, unless it's crunch time, I don't think 35 or 40 hours a week of work is really necessary.

My only advice is to think about what makes you happy. After my 3rd layoff in 2007, a friend who I'd worked with suggested that maybe working in technology doesn't make me happy. She was right, and gave me nudge I needed to make the career change to writer. My entire education was aimed at writing, and then I fell into technology and was good at it, but didn't love it.

If you could do anything in the world for a living, what would it be? Now, start taking steps to doing that.

Good luck!

Katie said...

O' Nora! Being grown up sucks...sometimes.

Good luck!

Jay said...

No regrets!

see you there! said...

The fact that you HAVE a choice would make that choice pretty easy for me. Have faith!

Darla

lapoflux said...

Tough decision.
I hope that you find the answer to it that is best for you.
I made a similar decision about 18 months ago. At the end of the day I decided my kids being little was a limited time engagement. That work was something that would always be there in one form or another.
I have friends with teenagers who were going through kid withdrawal (no time for their parents) so it helped me to see that I wanted the time with them now.
Good luck (and sorry for the long comment, I must have been dazed by those eyes...)

Claire B. said...

Whatever you decide, even if it's not what the survey says, will be the right choice for you. And nothing is forever. If you make the wrong choice, another door shall open up.

All Adither said...

This is a big one. With a little time, you'll know the right thing. One cautionary note: being a stay at home mom comes with a whole (huge) host of issues too (shaky self worth, not earning an income, isolation, loneliness, etc.) Or maybe that's just me.

She She said...

My oldest is eight now. For the first 5 years of his life, I think I cried a million tears because I had to work full-time. If there is any way you can make it work (and I'm going to capslock now because I don't know how to italicize, but I'm not yelling at you - it's only for emphasis), BE HOME WITH HUGO. YOU WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER REGRET IT. But, yes, by all means, follow your heart, too.

Stacy (mama-om) said...

Yep, what she said, about following your heart.

It's a cliche, it's true, but like all cliches, it seems like becoming a parent can bring a deeper understanding of them.

And one thing I didn't realize... I've been making big decisions almost continually for the last five years.

Though I decided to stay home when Orlando was five months old, I've revisited and remade the decision MANY times in the last five years. Sometimes I worked part-time from home but even when nothing looked different on the outside, on the inside, I was in turmoil, assessing, tweaking, and recommitting.

Good luck on your path...

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

The greatest blessings wear the best disguises.

I just made that up. And I'm very impressed with myself too.

Anyway, this is about you. And it seems to me that you have all the puzzle pieces laid out nicely. You'll put them together in just the right way for you and your family.

XO

JessTrev said...

Good luck with your decision. Like so many have said, follow the heart! Which may mean so many different things...and only you can know what's right for you and your family (peace, money, identity, fulfilment, nurturing).

Burp Rag said...

Nora,

Just think of the scones! They need you!

xo,
Annette
aka PollywogBaby.com
aka TheBurpRag.com
aka SustainableEats.Wordpress.com

See what happens with so much time on your hands? Too many blogs!

JCK said...

Thinking of you. If your gut answers, go with that. I think it is a good barometer.

Madge said...

i have a wonderful job. i work at home, partish to full time. total flexability to participate in things at school. a boss that supports me being with my kids, etc. BUT i'm not fulfilled in this job at all -- besides that i madly love the people i work with. but the work i do? i feel like there is something more for me out there. but i just don't go. i'm scared. i don't leap. i stop thinking about leaping.

you are not an idiot.

these are the hard ones.....

justhay said...

Go to the coffee shop. The barrister will have the answer you seek. May the caffine be with you.

asdf963 said...

there are thousands of flattering styles and designs of modest gowns ball gown for brides and bridesmaids. wedding gowns It all depends on your budget wedding party dresses your wedding colors and theme, and of course your body type. wedding shop Learn which modest wedding dresses fit you best and how to find bride dress