So this past week was a whirlwind of interviews for me! I literally lost count. I think, but don't quote me, that I had two in-person interviews and a phone interview Monday, one interview Tuesday, another phone interview Wednesday, and an interview Friday. Four in person interviews and two phone interviews in five days is A LOT. Each interview requires its own research and follow up emails and consideration and wow was I tired of talking about myself. First and foremost, let me express how absolutely blessed I was to be considered for each and every one of these positions. The job market is terrible right now, especially in depressed Florida. For me to get this much interest was AMAZING. I had calls back from resumes that were submitted six weeks ago. I also got a call back from a company I interviewed with in early November. They had another position open and wanted me to consider that. I was also fortunate enough to have a few offers to consider.
I was most excited about a job in the publishing industry selling textbooks to college professors and working with various universities to get those textbooks adopted. The position included a company car, decent salary and very generous bonus, paid annually. It also included a fair amount of travel, unfortunately. The manager I interviewed with told me that during my first year, I would be out in the field all day, then have about three hours of work to do when I got home at night. I was ready for the challenge- I know that I can do that work. Then I started thinking about all the work I already have to do around here at night. And how I've left my child overnight exactly one time and wasn't all that thrilled about it. Pursuing this opportunity meant letting this opportunity pass me by. And I realized that I wasn't willing to give up that possibility for this possibility. So I stepped out of the interview process and decided to move ahead with that "I think that I might be nuts" job- the one that requires working til almost 2 am and pays a pittance, but allows me to be home with my child almost all day, provides medical benefits, and allows for advancement.
A few other things factored into my decision. First of all, I recently remembered a conversation I had with a co-worker before I was laid off. I was lamenting the cost of the childcare and how I hated leaving my child everyday to come to work. I said to her, verbatim, "I wish that I could just find a job in a call center working nights so that I could keep the baby during the day and Matt [husband] could keep him at night. I know I wouldn't make as much money, but we wouldn't have to pay for childcare, so that would make up for some of it." Here I am, about a year later, with the very opportunity I wanted when I was working a "real" job! The thought process then went something like this- "You have the opportunity to have exactly what you said you wanted so shut up and be happy with that you moron." (I'm so nice to myself, huh. That's my interview question answer to what is your biggest weakness- I'm too hard on myself, just in case you were wondering.) In this case though, I think that the whole moron comment was deserved. When I was working a full time job, I wished for this job. That says something, right?
Second, I thought about what I would tell a friend if she told me that she were considering what I was considering- working a job with slightly unconventional hours in order to have more time to spend with her child. I would tell that friend that I thought she was an awesome mom to be willing to do that for her child. I would do everything I could to help support her and make things easier for her during this transition. I did, in fact, have a friend who took a job at Target working very early mornings so that she would be home in the afternoons when her husband worked. At the time, she felt that the job was not necessarily the best use of her talents, but was willing to do it anyway since it meant that she could be with her daughter. I thought it was fantastic and bought every red accessory I could find to coordinate with her new uniform. If I was willing to do that for a friend, why couldn't I be that supportive of myself? No good reason that I could think of, so I got behind that plan!
Finally, I thought of my own childhood. It was just my mom and me, so she always worked- she didn't have another option. I was always well-cared for and my mom did everything she could to make sure that she was there for important events and school programs and whatever. At the same time, there were many, many days that I came in second to an important project at work. She will admit to you today that there were times that she put work ahead of me. There were nights when she did not get home until very, very late and I was the one who made dinner for us both. I'm not sitting here crying a river or anything- my childhood was far, far better than many others. At the same time, I knew that I came in second to her job. And I didn't want that for my child. I wanted to be able to tell him, "You were so important to me that I chose to put you first and be with you instead of pursuing my career," which is really what it comes down to, right? I am sure that when he is a teenager he will claim that I made the complete wrong choice and ruined his life completely, but for right now, this seems like the right choice.
So that's my super HUGE, really BIG, WOW I'm EXCITED decision. I'm going to take the "I think that I might be nuts" job. And I am choosing to be really excited and focus on the positives of this job. I'm going to be excited about the cafeteria! Because I've never worked anywhere with a cafeteria before! And the employee discount! And the company store! And how easy I think that the job will be! I'm, for the most part, ignoring the late hours, weekends, holidays, pay and other crappy parts of the job. Quite honestly, I don't know how I'm going to do it. I wouldn't know how I was going to do any other job, though, so that's not any different. I also didn't know how I would manage when I had the baby and had to go back to work, and I figured that out, so I'm having a little faith that I'll somehow manage this too. Because I want to. Not because I HAVE to and I had no other option, but because **I** decided that this is what **I** want- for myself, for my family and for my child. I've made the decision and I'm owning it. Since I had NO say when I became "Suddenly Stay @ Home", to at least have some control in this decision is nice. I am feeling incredibly blessed to have this option- to have the job offer and to have the financial means the accept this, even though it's not the highest paying option. I recognize that this was not an option my mom ever had, or an option that a lot of other people have today, and I am grateful.
And I'm not truly ignoring the challenge of it all. I spent the weekend stocking the freezer with meals for when I go back. I've made some changes since the New Year which will hopefully boost my energy level even on little sleep. I will be spending the week tweaking some other things around here to make things run more smoothly without my constant attention. And streamlining- lots and lots of streamlining! I hope to share these things with you in the week to come, but we'll see... the best laid plans and all.
By the way, just a little disclaimer, this was the right choice for me and for my family. I completely acknowledge and recognize that this might not be the right choice for another woman and another family. I would not dream of judging another mom who did choose to take a traditional (9-5) job and enroll her child(ren) in day care or another child care arrangement. I hope that this post in no way makes you feel bad if that's the choice that you made- this is just my choice that I am choosing to be EXCITED about today and might blow up in face tomorrow.