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Archive for January, 2012

Mad month-- job stuff--updated

January 19th, 2012 at 08:54 am

We're only 19 days into January and it's already been complete madness! Where do I even begin?

My former full-time newspaper job, where I am now a freelancer, asked me if I'd consider going back to full-time. I considered it, but with the kids, it'd be difficult. I'd make about $45,000 a year, but full-time school for the boys would cost $26,000. And then there's spring break, holidays, etc. I asked if they'd consider a more flexible schedule (same hours every week, but just different than the 10 to 7 that is the norm). My editor wants to, but is raising the ire of management just by asking. Because "if they do it for me, they need to do it for everyone."

Of course, I say, you should do it for everyone, because it's 2012 and most parents work and there isn't a wife at home to handle every sick day, doctor visit, etc. But I digress.

I said I didn't think I could swing traditional full-time. Frankly, I don't want to. It'd be a lot of stress for not a lot of profit, once you consider daycare, taxes, commuting, etc. I'm better off freelancing, moneywise. Then, with a straight face, my editor asked if I'd consider hiring a nanny.

I was kind of horrified and exasperated all at once. I'm sorry, nannies are for high-powered executives and people who make 6 figures, not 40k a year reporters! Every dime I'd make would go to pay the nanny! After that comment, I kind of have given up negotiating. They're living in lala land.

So yeah, the plan now is nose to the grindstone until fall, when both kids will finally be old enough for preschool, then seek out more freelance work.

It just kind of irks me that the U.S. has such a jacked up work culture. Why does one partner always have to give up so much once kids arrive? Why are we forced to make these kinds of decisions? Why can't all parents have fulfilling careers, rather than one being stuck at home because the jobs are too inflexible or don't pay enough to cover childcare costs? It's times like this when I wish I was Scandinavian!

***
Just as an addendum, I want to say that all of this back and forth discussion with my former employer sparked a lot of soul searching. I just don't feel like, for the money, a full-time job there is the best use of my time. I've kind of been reminded of why I left the first time. It's not a culture of about what you produce, it's a culture of "I want to see your butt in the chair" and with a 2 year old and a 3 year old, that would be a real hardship for my family right now. Plus, I don't think the money is big enough to justify the added stress and hassle and expenses we'd have to go through to make it happen. I don't love the newspaper business enough, and I don't like the idea of having my kid in dawn to dusk daycare all year long, including school breaks and summer breaks, etc. I know parents do it all the time, but that's not how I grew up, and it really does help us that I have a flexible schedule.

Good wishes for 2012

January 1st, 2012 at 02:06 pm

I wish all of us good things for 2012! That we may find happiness, and have enough to sustain us and our loved ones. Oh, and that 2012 isn't the end of the world!