Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The leap, sort of

You know, if I was a good blogger I would have written about this whole decision business a little more regularly, oh I don't know, maybe AS IT WAS HAPPENING? It's some good stuff, right? The terror. The whining. The impossible choices. The realization that no one except me is going to say what I want and need. The mood swings. The sick feelings. The holy crap there's a recession on AND a stimulus package that would likely affect my work directly why would I quit my job? The amazing shows of support and empathy from coworkers, including my wonderful boss, who I thought had it figured out. The gradual, unceremonious calming of the winds that revealed the decision that was there all along.

But no, I just clam on up like an idiot. Well, there you have it. Sorry. I'm ready for my piles of gold coins now.

I quit my job. I did! I have some temporary part-time work lined up, but it is temporary, and by summer I will be looking for more. I traded some freedom, more trips to the park, more snuggles, more mornings in PJs, for some sanity and a medium-to-large amount of uncertainty about what the future holds. Eek.

Most exciting, and seriously, I'm excited about this, is that I have some intriguing editorial work lined up. Reminding me of why I came back to graduate school in the first place--because I was an EDITOR, and I LOVED it, and I mostly just wanted to be competitive for all the really cool science editor jobs. (That, and to slack off in the Northwest for five years.) And it's with medical things, which reminds me why I went into public health in the first place, a million years ago--because I wanted to influence how doctors are educated. So ha? Full circle? Maybe, yes. Maybe it is the start of something big. Or not that big, because I am a MOTHER after all, but you know, important. A seed.

And as my BFF Michelle Obama says--and I do not quote directly--different things work for different families at different times. There is no right answer. But for today, this much I know:

That my women mentors who are most at the top of their game a) had children, b)carved out time and space to be with them when they were small, and c)only took on demanding research jobs when they were good and ready.

That the ways I have seen people--men and women--make this research gig work are not things that will likely ever be a welcome part of my life. Frequent travel, working late at night from home, getting up at 4am, catching up on email on weekend mornings, and such. I am really kind of a slacker. Oh, and deep passion for the work. I envy that.

That I cannot imagine a time when I would not wish to be home when my child gets home from school.

That even if I made it through this two-year fellowship, at the end would only await more pressure to bring in more grants, to do more research, to travel to present findings, to hire people and then scramble to keep them employed.

That rushing my son most mornings to keep up with my schedule so I can get to work is not a message about the pace of life that I want to impart if I can avoid it. See above re: slacker.

That I might not have the choice to quit a job one day, that I might have to work full-time to support my family. Anything can happen. That I have this choice, today, and I am seizing it.

That every time I have stood up and said what I wanted and needed (and mind you, these times are few and far between) very, very good things have happened.

So more baby-gazing time! Yay! And I'm an editor again! Yippee! And now, forthwith (what does that mean, anyway?) I will return to your previously scheduled programming of funnies, soup, daily life, my silly marriage, my silly shady past, and conversations with cashiers and baristas. That feels a little more like it. Taking myself so seriously? Booooring.

But here, a little more deep just to ease you out of it gently, lest you be blinded by the return of my sparkling wit: My favorite quote of all time, ever. Thanks, Ms Anonymous.

When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step into the darkness, faith means knowing two things: there will be something to stand on or you will learn how to fly."

25 comments:

Anne-Marie said...

I'm happy for you! Sounds like everything is working out for the best.

She She said...

I'm thrilled for you -- absolutely thrilled! Congratulations on your new job(s)!

planetnomad said...

I totally think you made the right decision. I made a similar one years ago and have never, not even for one tiny micro-second, regretted it. So CONGRATS and post more, K?

smalltownmom said...

YAY! Be happy!

wheelsonthebus said...

wow

lapoflux said...

I'm glad you found your answer and that it seems so right for you.
I want to nibble that chubby finger...

phd in yogurtry said...

As someone who looked down the barrel of academia and ran the other direction, I applaud your strength and priorities. I took note that most of my mentors were not married and didn't plan on having children. That definately wasn't in my cards.

My husband and I manage to be home for the bus everyday. It's a tightrope and I know how lucky we are to have flexible jobs. I wish the USA would adopt some of Europe's maternal good sense instead of putting academic minded parents in such a bind.

Madge said...

so happy you took this giant step. can't wait to hear more.

Kristen M. said...

Good for you! As I send my little guy off to kindergarten this fall and look for part-time work, I will remember to not give up the things that are important to me.

Stacy (mama-om) said...

Yay. Congratulations.

All I can say is... chubby baby fingers! :)

JCK said...

Nora, you sound very grounded and peaceful - even excited! about your decision. I applaud that. You went with your gut and that is really the way. I applaud you from here!!

KTinDC said...

Well done you!! Hugs and cupcakes.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

"That I cannot imagine a time when I would not wish to be home when my child gets home from school."

Yes.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Good for you. You made the right choice. At least the one I was hoping you would make. Enjoy yourself, enjoy this time, it only comes around once. Big hugs!

Mrs. G. said...

Well hot damn!

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Love the quote, but most especially am enamored by your courage to do what's in your heart right now instead of 'someday.'

Yes.

Congratulations :D

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Sounds like you landed right where you need to be.

I love that for you.

Noelle said...

Love the quote, am selfishly happy that I get to read more of your musings, and adore that photo. Such an amazing shot!

Congrats - lots of exciting things going on for you!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Congrats! It's a hard decision...and a brave one. :)

Mac and Cheese said...

Sounds perfect. This is the best post I've read all week-end.

apathy lounge said...

This sounds wonderful! So glad that you're glad. I haven't seen you over at the Lounge lately. Is it something I said?

Mama Goose said...

Bravo! You know this is right.

Burp Rag said...

Yay Nora! And Yay to your family too!

MamaB said...

Congratulations! After my daughter was born, my boss let me be a part time post doc and now a part time research associate. Now with three kids, I can't imagine working full time. I know I am lucky with this job.

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