Monday, February 1, 2010

The J-O-B

I wrote about this in my latest edition of FNL, but I am still mulling it over in my head. Should I quit my parttime job or keep working at it?

Here's the background on me: I had a corporate America sales career which brought me very little happiness or satisfaction but brought in a good living and I was very good at. I worked for an amazing company that treated me well. I always wanted to be a SAHM, but when it came down to actually quitting my job and walking away from the money and the benefits, it was definitely gut check time and a really hard decision. But walk away I did, and I don't regret it for the most part. Being home with my son is a wonderful experience and money isn't everything.

When Will was about 10 months old (and still napping for about 4 hours a day in two different naps), I felt like my world was under control. My house was clean, laundry was done, I actually got to spend Will's nap time watching t.v. and blogging. So what is wrong with that, you ask? Nothing at all, but I felt guilty. I felt guilty that while M was plugging away at a job that he doesn't much care for for 12 hour days, I was sitting around on my @ss doing nothing. Not that being a SAHM is a nothing job, but to be honest, at that time, it was pretty easy. When Will was up and awake, I was a busy, active, engaged mom, but he did sleep a lot and I had free time on my hands.

So, that's when I decided to go for a part time job. It took about two months of searching, but I found a great part time job, that is 100% from home. It is not demanding work, it is sales and marketing, so it fits my background and skills well, and the pay is decent. At first, it worked out perfectly.

And then. . .

I got pregnant and Will dropped his first nap, bringing his total naptime down to less than two hours. I am bone tired and my house is a mess. Laundry? What's that? If I spend Will's entire naptime working, I am exhausted and the afternoons are hell. I don't really see this getting any better, either. When the second baby gets here, I will be even more exhausted and have even less time. Since I will have worked from them for less than a year, I am not entitled to any maternity leave, so any time off I had would be at the discretion of my boss.

My boss is a great guy and I honestly think they would give me a few weeks off. But I don't really know if that would be enough time and I would hate to add stress to myself or leave them in the lurch.

And here's the kicker. M did the taxes this last weekend and when we added in what I had made, it reduced our refund by $600, taking a huge chunk out of what I did earn. Even M said, "It's probably not worth you working."

So, why not just quit? There are several reasons:

1) This job is a great opportunity. It is very difficult to find legitimate work-from-home opportunities that pay this well and treat me with this much respect. It also has the potential to turn into more of a job/career someday when I am ready to return more full time to the workforce.

2) I don't want a huge gap in my resume. Having this job meant that I only had a six month gap in my employment history. I do intend to return to work someday and it would be easier if my resume was maintained.

3) The extra money is nice. It might not be much that I am bringing in, but it is something. That makes me feel a little less guilty about being home full time.

On one hand, I feel as if this is an easy decision. It's too much for me right now and definitely will be in the future. There is no shame in saying that I "can't do it all." I don't need to feel guilty for not being busy 100% of the time.

On the other hand, I do wonder if there will come a time when I can handle it all and wish I hadn't thrown this opportunity away. Sigh.

So, my dear readers, what would you do?


Beth said...

Oh, I wish the SAHM, WAHM, WOHM, topic was an easy answer! But it never is, is it? Grrr...

I don't have an answer, only sympathy at making this tough decision.

Could you hire a high schooler or a high school graduate who is going to a local community college in the fall for a Mommy's helper? (church kid, or a neighbor) Or does that kinda defeat the purpose of working? How many hours are you needing to put in a week?

If it were me, I'd quit & enjoy fulltime Mommyhood with my babes, and believe that another amazing WAH job opportunity will fall into my lap again. But maybe that's just me wishing & hoping that I can do the same...

Rebecca said...

It is so hard "doing it all." At this point, I am tutoring at night to supplement our income, but that is off the books and Bill is home with the babies.

You need to take care of yourself and your kids and you'll never get this time back with them. I loved my job, but I am banking on the fact that not only will there be an opportunity for me when I go back, but that they'll be lucky to have me back too. I'm sure the same is true for you since they already gave you this opportunity. It's so hard to know what the "right thing" is b/c there isn't really a right thing...what will make you happiest in the long run?

Sunny said...

Getting caught up on your posts... love the updates on Will. He seems like such a sweet little guy, just like my Bean. :)

Regarding the job situation, it is definitely tough. I can tell you the decision I made: quit.

When we moved to Seattle from St. Louis, I was pregnant with Bean. They allowed me to transfer and work from home part-time. I thought it would be perfect, for all the reasons you described! Bean came, they let me have maternity leave (entirely unpaid because I was only PT) and then I started up again. We hired someone to come to the house and watch Bean while I worked because it's not the kind of job you can do while caring for a child. What a great balance, huh?

But I ended up miserable. I didn't want the babysitter to sooth Bean, *I* wanted to do it. I felt like I wasn't being 100% of anything -- an employee or a mom. I spent weeks (months?) agonizing over the decision, but I'm glad I did. Because all of the sudden it clicked in my heart and my head, I wanted to be a SAHM. I quit and have not had a moment of regret since. Sure, it would be nice not to have that gap on my resume, and to have the flexibility to go back to that situation. But I guess it's a trade-off I'm willing to make to be completely present with the kiddos when they are young.

My advice would be to keep thinking about it, and have faith that something will just click. If you quit before you are really ready, you may have regrets. You'll arrive at the best solution for you and your family, I'm sure.

AFM said...

Thats a hard one, I do casual work as i can fit this in when hubby is home and avoid babysitting costs. keep thinking it over and do what is right gor you and you little family.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I think if it were me, I would quit the job and take advantage of not feeling totally overwhelmed.

heartincharge said...

If you can afford to quit, I would quit! Don't feel guilty. You are raising M's children and taking care of his home. It's a partnership. Plus, the job landscape is changing and in today's world, I wouldn't make a major decision in exchange for an employer's loyalty. Enjoy your little ones. Another opportunity will come when you are ready.

Red said...

It is tough, I also agonised over it as I was a full time professional before having Champ and then worked part time for 6 months once he turned 1. Even though I didn't enjoy the eperience of trying to do it all, it cemented in my head that I wanted to do something with 100% not the half/half job I was doing at both working and parenting.

I do now work from home in something that I can do around Champ's nap (I also remember fondly those 2 naps/day days!) plus some weekend/evening work. I just neded something to do 'for me' not so much for the money (although that little bit extra IS nice!). Saying that, I know that once this baby comes I will be hanging up my work hat for at least another 6 months.

I want to enjoy whatever I do for work, and I don't think I would if I were fitting it around a toddler and a young baby. Do you think you would enjoy/need that preofessioanl outlet even once the baby is born?

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Rachel said...

Reading your post it sounds like you may have already made up your mind and all of the comments seem to also be in support of leaving the position, but before you do so you might want to consider negotiating with them. You'd have nothing to lose at that point.

Maybe ask for 6 months off, or ask if you could be considered for the next opening in the future? Is it possible they could split the position so it was less time but you'd still have continuous employment? I think that you are quite right to want to keep a foot in the door if you're planning to go back to work, and this seems like a great way to do so if you can balance it.

Anonymous said...

I'd do what I did :) I walked away from work and decided I'll never get this time back. I'm not stressing about work or resumes or anything related until my kids are all in school. If I'm blessed enough to be able to afford this opportunity, I'm not going to overthink it. There are some days when I question my decision, but not many. There are many, many, many days when I am just happy where I am here at home with the kids.

Jen said...

The one problem that you are going to run into is that Will's nap schedule is never going to lengthen. So if you'll need to bring in a mommy's helper or sitter, then will the money be worth that?

As for the gap in your resume, my question would be how comparable is this job to what you have been doing or what you would like to do after your kids are older? For SAHM's I think filling the gap does little for you career wise if the job is quite a bit lower in terms of salary and responsibility than what you want to be doing in say 5 years.

In the end it is up to you. And yeah, maybe there was a 2 month slow period when you had one child who napped a lot. But with #2 on the way, I'm guessing those slow periods will be fewer and fewer.

Katie said...

First, on the Mother's Helper front, yeah. I have looked into hiring one and it has just not been that easy. Either I have to drive quite a bit to pick up and drop off the person, or they turned out to be a flake, or I can't even find someone interested. If you have any advice on finding one, please let me know.

And, this position is in line with what I used to do, as it is sales and marketing, and like any good sales professional :) I can leverage and position it to meld well with my future career plans. The pay is quite a bit lower, but still decent for a WAM gig.

Tracy said...

Well, I'm pretty sure you know what I would do. I'd stay home and forget about working. I will tell you that taking care of two children is consuming. I can't even fathom doing any work on the side.

As an ex-HR director, I will tell you that having a gap in your resume is not as big of a deal as you may think. I fully understood women who took "breaks" to raise their children, and if anything, LOVED hiring them! Usually they have a great work ethic and are so enthusiastic about returning to work that they have great attitudes, too. This is a sterotype, of course, but knowing you, you'll have no problem when you return to work.

This is just me - so don't take it out of context and assume I'm judging because I don't even want to go there (and I'm not!) - but I commited to just taking this time off of work to focus on my children. I'm going to go wherever the road takes me, letting them be my one and only focus (aside from my hubby, of course) for awhile. So I don't get any nasty comments for saying that, YES, I do know how blessed we are that I'm able to do this.

But I think you know all this about me already, don't you?

Katie said...

Tracy: You know what I admire most about you? How you just STICK TO YOUR GUNS. I wish I had that ability! I hem and haw way too much - far more than is good for me! :)

Thanks for weighing in, though I kind of knew what you'd have to say (and I mean that in a good way)!

Danifred said...

Hmmmm... since I'm always guilty of putting way too much on my plate, I don't know if I'm so good at giving advice in this area.
Personally, I like having a foot in the door... every door.