Home > Mad month-- job stuff--updated

Mad month-- job stuff--updated

January 19th, 2012 at 04:54 pm

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.

9 Responses to “Mad month-- job stuff--updated”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    I feel your pain! It's worse having European family and friends, because the inequalities are even more stark and hard to ignore. The British in-laws feel so sorry for us with our pathetic parental leave, I can tell in their voices.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I hear you!

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I would have thought a newspaper editor would live more in the real world. A nanny? That is kind of a let them eat cake thing to say, isn't it?

  4. ThriftoRama Says:

    The thing about newspapers is that we are a watchdog for everyone else, yet our own industry is unbelievably outdated and archaic as far as workplace policies and gender equality.

    The nanny thing was just laughable. My editor means well, but that just shows how out of touch he is. You can't afford a nanny if your salary is 40k, and if you could, it wouldn[t be worth the hassle of working!

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    Actually, nannies are a very low cost/viable option where I live. IT is a lower income thing. I guess to say I wouldn't assume a lot about that - it could be a good recommendation, honestly. There are thankfully many other options around here, because the daycare type centers and preschools are insane expensive here, but I found several other options talking to others, when my kids were younger. & most our neighbors have nannies, though probably not the highly paid nannies of the rich that the word "nanny" conjures. Usually a retired Grandma who needs some money, college students, or foreign visitors willing to work for just room and board. Far cheaper and more flexible and convenient than most traditional daycare options. I literally know elementary school teachers (low paid of the low) who hire nannies.

    That said, would I work full-time to bring home $0 after daycare? Heck no. Lord knows I dont' see the point. Wink

  6. Jenn Says:

    I did hire a nanny and it was cheaper than having three in daycare for sure. She had worked at a daycare and by working for us, she was able to take her child out of daycare too. A win-win for us all. Admittedly, I did make more than $40k.

  7. My English Castle Says:

    The American work culture is crazy. Like ceejay, our Euro relatives just shake their heads.

  8. patientsaver Says:

    I absolutely agree. I'm so tired of employers who STILL are largely inflexible when it comes to basic things like flex time, job-sharing and stuff that doesn't cost them anything. If you want that kind of flexibility, you have to go with a big employer.

    I was listening to something on NPR the other night and was reminded that in France, The standard workweek is 35 hours and the usual retirement age is 60. Of course, that's now in danger as Euro struggles with recession, but for many years, that's how it's been.

    it's just hugely impractical, rigid and dinosaur-age thinking for employers not to budge when they know that most families have to deal with the same shit.

  9. Jerry Says:

    The US is very backwards in that regard, we have seen it now while living overseas. It leads us to wonder how soon we will be coming back, to be frank with you. I don't know how that supervisor could be so foolish as to suggest that a position like that could afford a nanny! Unless and until they start including nannying as a benefit with their health insurance package and the rest, he's living in a dreamworld.

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